When Does Surgery Become Necessary to Treat Bunions?

Do you have a bunion? Nearly 3 million Americans do. A bunion is a bony bump that forms at the base of your big toe. Bunions might be small, but they can severely impact your mobility and quality of life.

A bunion happens as a result of the first metatarsal bone of your foot pushing outward while your big toe points in toward your other toes, forcing the joint out of alignment. Over time, shoes can put pressure on the bunion, which can cause pain.

Homam Badri, DPM, a foot and ankle specialist at One Oak Medical. can help you find a treatment method that works for you. Bunion surgery isn’t always necessary, and Dr. Badri always tries to ease your pain with less aggressive techniques first. For severe cases that don’t respond to noninvasive treatments, bunion surgery can provide much-needed relief.

Causes and symptoms of bunions

One of the main causes of bunions is wearing narrow, tight-fitting shoes over a long period of time. Squeezing your feet into shoes that are narrow or have high heels pushes your toes out of alignment, and years of this can lead to bunions. Genetics also plays a role.

Other medical conditions can cause or worsen bunions, including arthritis and gout. To properly diagnose your condition, Dr. Badri takes X-rays to examine the bones inside your foot.

Symptoms of a bunion include:

Many people have bunions, but they don’t always cause pain. If you have painless bunions, taking more conservative measures to treat them can help keep you from developing bunion pain.

Nonsurgical treatment for bunions

Preventive care and nonsurgical treatment strategies can keep bunions from getting worse, and proactive methods might mean you can avoid surgery. Over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications, or cortisone injections can help manage bunion pain and reduce inflammation. Applying a heating pad or ice pack work to manage flare-ups and pain if you’ve been on your feet a long time.

Other nonsurgical options include orthotics — customized shoe inserts to take pressure off of the bunion — or orthopedic shoes. Depending on your condition, Dr. Badri may recommend bunion pads or splints, and he shows you how to use them so you don’t inadvertently cause other foot problems.

Bunion surgery

For patients who don’t see relief from their bunion pain with nonsurgical treatment methods, Dr. Badri may recommend bunion surgery. Surgery might be necessary if you have:

Bunion surgery is usually an outpatient procedure, which means you can go home the same day. Dr. Badri customizes your bunion surgery plan to correct the alignment of your foot bones and repair tissue around the affected toes.

Most patients report a significant reduction in pain following bunion surgery, but full recovery can take six months or more. If you and Dr. Badri opt for surgery to treat your bunion pain, it’s important to follow his guidelines during recovery so your foot heals properly and stays healthy.

Don’t settle for a life with bunion pain. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Badri to learn more about the best bunion treatment for you. To schedule an appointment, call One Oak Medical or use the online request form.

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