Seeking a Surgical Solution
Bunions can be painful. They rub against shoes, change how you walk, and generally ache uncomfortably. In most cases, conservative therapy can make a significant difference for alleviating discomfort and preventing the problem from getting worse. Other times, however, noninvasive therapies are not enough. You need bunion surgery to actually correct the bony deformity.
Why Have Surgery?
A bunion is a deformity that develops in the joint at the base of your big toe, where the digit meets its metatarsal. The problem has many outside factors that contribute to it and make it worse—like poorly fitted shoes or high heels—but the real source is an issue with underlying biomechanical problems. An inherited foot shape and mechanical weakness allow the big toe to dislocate from the right position and develop a bulging joint.
In addition to being uncomfortable, bunions are progressive. They will get worse unless you treat them. In most cases, conservative therapies are all you need to relieve the pain and prevent the condition from worsening. Since the deformity is a problem with dislocated bones, though, conservative methods cannot correct the problem. Occasionally they aren’t enough to keep the bump small or stable, either. In that case, you may need bunion surgery.
When You Should Consider a Bunionectomy
Bunion surgery, also called a bunionectomy, isn’t for everyone. Although the procedure is quite safe, no one wants to have foot surgery unless they actually need it, as recovery time can be quite long. Conservative therapies are always tried first. This may include changing your footwear, padding the bump, using orthotics, and physical therapy, among other things.
If your foot is still very painful, though, these treatments may not be working. If your bunion impairs your ability to wear normal shoes or participate in daily activities, severely deforms your foot, or continues to get worse, surgery may be your best option for pain relief. Dr. Noah Levine will examine your lower limbs to help you decide if surgery is your best option.
What to Expect from Surgery
A bunionectomy corrects the misalignment in the big toe and eliminates the bulge on the side of the foot. There are several different ways the surgery can be performed. Dr. Noah Levine will use diagnostic images and other tests to decide what will be the most effective way to correct your bunion. Then we can help you prepare for the surgery.
During the procedure, your foot will be numb so you are unable to feel anything. The foot will be opened up and the bones cut and realigned as needed to eliminate the bulge. Then the incision will be closed and sterilized. For most procedures, you’ll need to avoid putting any weight on the affected foot while it heals. Most likely you’ll need to wear a cast or special shoe to keep your foot immobilized and stable during this time. You should also keep it elevated to discourage edema. We may also recommend ice to help reduce inflammation.
We’ll give you instructions about caring for the incision. Always make sure the wound stays clean and doesn’t become infected. Once the foot is sufficiently recovered, you’ll be able to begin walking on it carefully. Most likely you’ll need physical therapy to help you regain some range of motion. It will take several months to fully recover, but the procedure should significantly reduce your foot pain from the bunion.
Bunion surgery can seem intimidating, but it might the best way to correct your painful bunion that isn’t responding to anything else. Let Absolute Foot Care Specialists help you through this process and get you back to enjoying a pain-free life. Call our Las Vegas offices at (702) 839- 2010 or use the online request form to reach us for an appointment.