If you have painful bunions, you are not alone. Bunions are very common foot ailments. The earlier you recognize and treat a bunion, the less likely the deformity will progress in severity.
A bunion is often hereditary and results when the big toe is out of alignment due to faulty foot mechanics.
Just as an alignment problem on your car can cause other problems, an alignment problem in your foot can lead to other painful foot problems.
A bunion occurs on the joint where the big toe bone meets the foot bone (first metatarsal) on the inside of your foot. A bunionette, or tailor’s bunion, occurs on the joint where the little (fifth) toe meets the foot bone (fifth metatarsal) on the outside of your foot.
Most people complain of pain and swelling at the affected toe joint.
They find it difficult to wear shoes comfortably and that the deformity damages their shoes.
They do not like the way the foot looks due to the boney enlargement and because the big toe tends to drift to the side and crowd the smaller toes.
In severe case the big toe will go over or under the toe next to it. to it.
Is it time to treat your bunion?
Left untreated, your bunion will progress and can cause other problems such as hammertoes, corns on the toes, calluses on the soles, and ingrown nails.
Your AAFAS foot surgeon will examine you and your feet , take a careful history, and use diagnostic modalities such as x-rays to determine the severity of your problem. He or she will then explain available non-surgical and surgical treatments that may help you.
Non-surgical treatments may include appropriate shoe styles for your foot problem, orthotics (shoe inserts) to improve your foot mechanics, pads, medications, therapeutic injections, physical therapy, or splints.
Or perhaps it is time to discuss surgery.
Minimally Invasive Bunion Surgery
A bunion deformity basically has two components.
There is a large growth of bone which can become painful especially in closed shoes. The second component is a crooked big toe.
The surgery can be performed in an office , surgical center, or hospital, on an outpatient basis. The procedure may involve making three or four small incisions. One or two incisions are used to file down the bump and to make a wedge in the first metatarsal bone to reposition it to help prevent recurrence.
Another incision is made over the big toe bone to make it straighter.
The last incision allows the surgeon to release soft tissue structures which have helped to pull the big toe out of alignment.
These incisions can be less than a half inch long due to the use of specialised intruments. This results in greatly reduced soft tissue work, so there tends to be less pain, swelling and and disability and minimal scarring.The procedures can be performed under local anesthetic and without leaving pins, screws or wires in the foot.
These procedures have stood the test of time and are now being performed by surgeons all over the world, thanks to the efforts of The Academy of Ambulatory Foot and Ankle Surgery and its members.