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When Does a Bunion Require Surgery?

When Does a Bunion Require Surgery?

Bunions often start as something fairly minor. You can manage it on your own if you catch a bunion in its early stages. Home care solutions for bunion treatment usually require wearing medicated pads to reduce discomfort as the bunion rubs against the side of your shoe.

But other times, you may not be as lucky. Bunions don’t always go away on their own, given enough time. The Run Doctor providers at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine explain more about bunions and when you may need to have surgery to remove them.

What are bunions?

Bunions are a bony growth on the outside of your foot. Often appearing at the base of your big toe, bunions are also known by their medical term, hallux valgus. It can become a deformity of your foot, affecting your comfort in wearing certain shoes and even participating in certain activities.

Bunions don’t always need to be treated. But if you have diabetes or if your bunion is causing you pain, you should definitely get it checked out.

The causes and treatments of bunions

Many factors may cause bunions. Many people have an inherited tendency to become more likely to get bunions. However, bunions are often caused by something you may be able to control.

Wearing pointed footwear that pinches your toes together is especially like to stress the joint and form a bunion. Women are more likely to get bunions than men are, presumably because women are more likely to wear shoes, such as high heels, which contribute to the condition.

You can often eliminate bunions just beginning by wearing different footwear. Make sure your shoes have a roomy toe box, allowing plenty of room for your toes to move. We can also provide custom-made orthotics to put into your shoes, providing proper cushioning for your feet and taking the pressure off your bunion.

When bunions need surgery

If you’ve already tried wearing different shoes and orthotics, you may need surgery to correct the problem. When your bunion needs surgery, it’s most likely causing problems or pain upon walking. 

Bunion surgery is more complicated than you may think. That’s because advanced bunions often involve the tendons and ligaments in your feet, which may even wrap around your bunion. If your toe has to be moved or repositioned, you may even have metal pins, wires, or plates inside your foot.

Surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis, so you’ll most likely go home the same day. You’ll still receive anesthesia, so you won’t have to experience the pain of the process.

Contrary to what some believe, bunions aren’t simply shaved off. The ligaments and tendons in your foot have to be rearranged to have the correct amount of tension again. Otherwise, shaving off a bunion would allow it to grow back.

You can expect a somewhat lengthy recovery after bunion surgery. You won’t have to be completely bed-bound, but you won’t be able to run marathons at first, either. You’ll want to bring either crutches or a walker to surgery. The doctor will advise you on which to bring and give you additional after-care instructions.

If you have a bunion that doesn’t seem to be going away on its own, you should make an appointment with one of our Run Doctor specialists. Contact us or request an appointment online.

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