A bunion is an enlargement that occurs in the joint at the base of the big toe, the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. It is caused by the bone or tissue at the big toe joint moving out of place. This forces the affected toe to bend toward the other toes, causing a noticeable protrusion of bone on the foot. Since this joint carries a lot of the body´s weight while walking, bunions can cause symptoms including pain, swelling, and restricted movement if left untreated.
It is important to understand that surgery isn’t always required for bunions. For many women, simple changes like wearing shoes with wider toe boxes can significantly reduce the pain caused by a bunion. Custom orthotics, padded inserts and anti-inflammatory medications may also provide relief from discomforting bunions. When non-surgical treatment options are ineffective surgery is commonly performed by podiatrists like Dr. Jamshidinia to definitively correct the problem. Some people simply avoid surgery because they may have heard many myths that have circulated about the procedure, but when the pain of a bunion interferes with a patient’s daily activities, it’s time to discuss surgical options, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS).
Myth #1: “Bunion Surgery Is Just Too Painful”
Anytime you undergo a surgical procedure, a certain degree of pain or discomfort is inevitable. When you consider how important the foot is to your daily function, many people become disillusioned that they won’t be able to do anything for weeks following bunion surgery. New techniques and medical advances have made bunion surgery more effective and safe than ever before. While you should expect some discomfort and swelling following bunion surgery, most patients report that any discomfort is well managed by prescribed medication, and that the recovery tends to be much easier than they initially though.
Myth #2: “My Bunion Will Come Back Even After Surgery”
Although it is possible for a bunion to recur, it is not likely. Especially if you make sure to follow the specific after care instructions given to you by your bunion surgeon, you, like the overwhelming majority of patients will be satisfied with the outcome following bunion surgery. It should also be noted that IF the bunion does come back, it is not considered a complication, but instead it will be the growth of a bunion over time. This is seen in patients that have excessive motion in the foot which increases their risk of developing bunions in general.
Myth #3: “I’ll Be In A Cast With Crutches After Bunion Surgery”
Medical advances in bunion treatment and bunion surgery has allowed podiatrists to mobilize patients quicker following bunion surgery. For most bunions, only a walking boot will be required during the recovery period. For severe, complex cases, a cast and crutches may be required during the recovery period to ensure adequate healing of the bone. Recent technological advances in medical devices have helped surgeons modify their techniques to get patients moving quicker.
Myth #4: “I Will Have To Miss Weeks Of Work!”
Although certain occupations may require you to take time off following bunion surgery, for the overwhelming majority of patients, especially women, this is simply not true. For patients who work a standard desk job, you may be able to return to work in a matter of days depending on the extent and severity of your bunion surgery. For patients who work more physically demanding jobs, a longer medical leave of absence may be required until your foot has healed and you feel comfortable returning to work.
Myth #5: “My Bunion Doesn’t Hurt So I Don’t Have To Fix It”
Although most people would never consider surgery if there is not significant pain, it may be the recommended form of treatment for a bunion that continues to get bigger, interferes with activity, or makes it difficult to wear your shoes. Some women even consider bunion surgery to correct the unsightly nature of a bunion that prevents them from wearing elegant shoes to formal events. Although it may not always be recommended by podiatrists to surgically remove a bunion that is not painful, depending on your specific bunion and it’s characteristics, surgery may be a reasonable option for treatment.
Bunions are a serious ailment and should be treated as such. If you have tried non-surgical bunion treatments unsuccessfully then it may be time to consider bunion surgery. We hope that we have shed some truths to the myths of bunion surgery and that it may help you get the definitive treatment that you need and deserve. If you still have any questions or concerns, contact Dr. Jamshidinia at Tower Foot & Ankle to setup a consultation for your bunion and foot problems.