Do I Need Bunion Surgery?
That bump at the base of your big toe has gotten bigger. It hurts every day and you can’t take those long walks in Central Park or play with the dog the way you used to. Is it time to consider having an operation to fix it? It’s an important decision, and the podiatrists at Aadvanced Foot Care Associates can help you make the right choice.
Bunion Surgery Is a Serious Step
- Removing part of the bone that is sticking out (bunionectomy)
- Removing a piece of the big toe or foot bone (phalangeal or metatarsal osteotomy)
- Lining up the ligaments of the toe joint
- Reshaping bones at joint of big toe and foot bone (resection arthroplasty)
- Fusing the big toe joint (arthrodesis)
- Fusing the metatarsal bone to the mid-foot bone (Lapidus procedure)
- Inserting all or part of an artificial joint
You may need more than one of these types of surgery, and it may mean the use of wires, screws or plates. Our podiatrists must first determine exactly what is causing your toe to form the bump before determining which procedure is needed.
What Happens During My Surgery?
Bunion surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. Local anesthetic will be used, but a sedative may also be given. Your doctor will make an incision at the top or side of the joint and take one or more steps to correct your particular problem. Our goal for the surgery is that you will experience less pain and regain better function of your foot. It is important to note that the goal is not to get you back to wearing high heels, or to make your foot look better. As with any surgery there are risks, including infection, side effects from the anesthetic, or nerve damage that can cause numbness, tingling or lack of sensation. All surgeries are not successful, and your bunion may return if the underlying causes are not also addressed. You can also develop arthritis in the joint, or a callus on the sole of your foot.
Care after Surgery
After the surgery, make sure to keep your foot covered in the shower or bath so the stitches stay dry. They will be taken out after 1 to 3 weeks, while pins may stay in as long as 6 weeks. You may need to wear a splint, cast, or special shoes, and in more severe cases you might not be able to put any weight on the foot for 6 – 8 weeks. Usually it takes 6 weeks to 6 months for your foot to fully heal, and if the procedure was extensive, it could take as long as year.
Successful bunion surgery should mean less pain and more normal activity for you, but there are no guarantees. Surgery is the final option after all other treatment methods have been exhausted. So if you notice that your toe joint is starting to bump out, contact Aadvanced Foot Care Associates in Rego Park at (718) 896-4433, Plainview at (516) 822-9595 or Flushing at (718) 969-2266 before it becomes a serious problem. You can even request an appointment online. Proper treatment early on may mean you can keep enjoying those long walks and fun times with your dog without ever needing surgery, but if you do, you can trust us to care for your feet.