If bunion surgery is being considered for your situation, it typically means one of two things:
- Conservative methods for managing your bunion symptoms (such as changes in footwear, custom orthotics, padding, splints, etc.) have not been very effective.
- The severity or condition of your bunion is such that it is clear that conservative modes of treatment would not work, and attempting them would be a likely waste of your time and comfort.
If bunion surgery is determined to be the best route for your treatment, that is not as straightforward a choice as you might expect. There are still many factors to consider, but you can rest assured that our goal will always be to do what is best for your individual needs, and minimize any negative impact to your post-operative recovery and life.
Bunion Surgery: Many Ways to Get Rid of a Bunion
“Bunion surgery” is not just one procedure. There are a multitude of different identified procedures – more than 100, in fact!
Why is this the case? Because a bunion is not just the bump on the side of your foot. It is also the instability in the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint that initially led to your big toe shifting. And, as part of that joint, you have ligaments, muscles, and other soft connective tissues – any of which might need to be addressed as part of a surgical procedure.
Bunion surgery procedures may involve:
- Osteotomy – Making small cuts in the bones of the MTP joint and realigning them to their normal positions.
- Exostectomy – Removing the bunion from the joint without realigning it. In other words, shaving or cutting down the bony bump itself.
- Arthrodesis – Removing joint surfaces, then rebuilding and repairing the damaged MTP joint with screws, wires, and/or metal plates. This procedure is often recommended for patients with severe arthritis or who have had unsuccessful bunion procedures in the past.
- Repairing Tendons and Ligaments – If a connective tissue is too tight, it may need to be loosened. If too loose, it may need to be tightened. You typically see an imbalance where one side is too loose and the other too tight, necessitating both procedures. Usually, alignment through osteotomy is also performed in conjunction with this procedure.
As noted, there are other procedures that may be used, some much more commonly than others. Determining the best course of action will depend on a thorough evaluation of your bunion, its severity, your lifestyle goals, and a number of factors pertaining to your medical history.
Of course, you do not need to remember all the terms above nor expect to be left in the dark about our recommendations. We will gladly discuss the hows and whys of any procedure we suggest, and answer any questions you may have about them.
Preparing for Bunion Surgery and Recovery
Bunion surgery takes time for a full recovery – up to six months, in many cases – but the overall expected time frame differs from procedure to procedure.
Nevertheless, it is essential to properly prepare for your surgery and recovery period before the actual procedure. This includes arranging transportation to and from the site of the surgery, as well as setting up your living space to accommodate your needs.
We can discuss with you considerations such as:
- Creating a ground floor space for rest and sleep, since going up and down stairs may be troublesome for a limited amount of time after the surgery.
- Ensuring you have access to a bathroom and meals.
- Having someone check in on you, if needed.
- Having ample space to move around with crutches or other medical equipment.
For most procedures, you can expect to wear a surgical cast or boot afterward in order to protect your foot. This need typically lasts for around 2 weeks, and you should not get your stitches wet during this time.
It is key during your initial recovery period to stay off your feet and bear as little weight on your foot as possible, until we determine you can start doing so again. Not following instructions closely can result in not only discomfort, but potential complications that can cause dangers or delay your healing.
Once the cast or boot is removed, we typically move to a brace to support the foot. You still may not be able to bear weight on the foot at this time, but will gradually be able to do so, with limitations.
Swelling is common for up to several months following a bunion procedure, so be prepared with shoes that can accommodate this change in size well and comfortably.
We will schedule appointments with you regularly to ensure that recovery is moving along as expected, and that any potential problems are quickly identified and addressed. Our care does not stop once you are out of surgery; not by a long shot!
Find the Treatment You Need for Your Bunion
There are many possibilities for bunion treatment, but we can guide you to the options that will work best for your needs and your life.
Reach out to us to schedule an appointment at either of our offices:
- Curie Drive: (915) 533-5151
- George Dieter Drive: (915) 856-3331
You can also contact us electronically by filling out our online form. We’d love to hear from you and take those first steps toward bunion relief.