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Bunion Surgery – What to Expect

photo of a foot showing a bunion | American Foot & Leg Specialists

Bunion Surgery – What to Expect

Posted by American Foot and Leg in Foot Problems 31 Jan 2017

Deciding on a surgical treatment can feel like a big step. When it comes to bunion surgery, make it a big step in the right direction: a little preparation can go a long way to finding the surgical team that will meet and exceed your bunion surgery expectations.

Bunion basics

A bunion, also referred to as a hallux valgus deformity, is a bony bump caused by deformation of the joint where the big toe meets the ball of the foot. As the base of the joint presses out, the bunion forces the tip of the toe progressively toward its neighboring toes. The alteration in foot shape caused by a bunion can be distressing not only because of the appearance; but also due to the pain, redness and swelling that can develop around a bunion.

Living with bunions

The larger they become, the more likely bunions are to cause pain and discomfort. As a result, sufferers can spend a good deal of time and effort seeking the proper combination of pain relieving remedies and shoes that accommodate the changing foot shape.

If pain relief is insufficient, bunion pain can cause alterations in the way of walking known as antalgic gait. Although it may seem to help with the immediate problem of walking with bunion pain, an antalgic gait can lead to increased pain over the long run due to secondary injuries of other joints involved in walking and standing.

Bunion treatment

An essential remedy for bunion pain and development is suitable shoes: sufficient space in the forefoot can often keep bunions from forming or progressing. Due to other factors such as a genetic predisposition; however, bunions can sometimes form and progress despite the best of footwear.

When non-surgical remedies are insufficient for preventing bunion pain or discomfort from interfering in every day activities, bunion surgery is recommended. Particularly for patients with a family history of bunion formation, it may also be advisable to consider bunion surgery as an early intervention in the prevention of bunion-associated pain and injury.

Bunion surgery procedures are usually performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. The precise method used will depend on the nature and extent of the joint deformation. Sometimes, only soft tissues require re-positioning or removing. In other cases, some removal or fusion of bony tissue will also be required. With more than 100 different surgical techniques developed to-date, there is certainly a bunion surgery to suit every need.

Life after bunion surgery

Recovery from bunion surgery will vary according to the extent of soft tissue involvement. For many patients, particularly for those who choose early surgical intervention, the recovery period will last about six weeks. For more extensive surgeries, it may take up to six months to feel fully recovered. The specific type of bunion surgery will determine how soon weight can be placed on the foot. Some patients require six-to-eight weeks without walking, while others can use a special orthotic shoe to walk during the first few weeks after surgery.

Finding a bunion surgery specialist

While this article is intended to be informative, it cannot take the place of professional medical advice. Please contact American Foot and Leg Specialists or another medical doctor near you for more information on your bunion treatment and surgery options.

American Foot and Leg Specialists serves the South Atlanta Metro area with four locations open 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday thru Friday. Patients from across Fulton County, Cobb County, Douglas County, Fayette County, Henry County, and Clayton County all trust American Foot and Leg Specialists to help put their best foot forward.

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