Bunions are a deformity in the mechanical structure of the foot. They form as bony structures at the base of the big toe. Bunions are often caused by a combination of weak foot structure and years of wearing poorly fitting or tight shoes, though they may also develop as a result of arthritis. An estimated 23 percent of adults under age 65 and 36 percent of adults over age 65 have bunions. Many live with them complication-free, while others experience pain associated with the condition. Though conservative treatments are often effective for reducing bunion discomfort, some people require surgery to gain relief.
Who is a candidate for bunion surgery?
Bunion surgery is not for everyone. We recommend first trying more conservative treatments, such as alternative footwear, before undergoing surgery to correct bunions. If conservative treatments fail, talk to your podiatrist about whether surgery could be right for you.
What happens during a bunion surgery?
You will be sedated and anesthetized for the duration of the procedure. Small incisions are made around the surgical site, through which your doctor may cut the deformed bone and realign it with the rest of the foot. Since bunion surgery is typically an outpatient procedure, most patients can go home the same day as the operation.
How long is the recovery period after bunion surgery?
Recovery from bunion surgery takes several weeks. The initial 6 weeks after surgery are the time when patients must be most restrictive with activity. It is important to avoid putting too much weight on the treated foot and refrain from all high impact activities. Gradually, your podiatrist will release you to begin increasing your activity levels over a period of several months. Keep in mind that recovery from bunion surgery may affect your ability to drive, work or bathe in the first few weeks post-op. It may help to arrange assistance with the activities you are limited in. Talk to your employer about how much time you can take off for recovery and whether you can use crutches or a motorized scooter at work.
Is the recovery period painful?
It is normal to experience discomfort following a bunion operation. However, your podiatrist may provide you with medications to help control pain while you heal. For more information about pain management after a bunion removal surgery, contact our office.