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Martin Foot & Ankle

Bunion Surgery: When to Choose Invasive Treatment

Bunion SurgeryFor most foot and ankle pain, conservative therapies are enough to eliminate discomfort. Readjusting the foot’s position, cushioning painful areas, changing shoes, strengthening muscles—all these techniques are used successfully on a regular basis. Sometimes, however, managing symptoms is not enough to provide real relief. When your bunion pain is not responding to other treatments, bunion surgery to actually correct the condition may be a better option.

Why Choose Surgery?

Bunions are painful deformities that develop when your big toe and first metatarsal slide out of alignment. Most of the time, this condition can be managed and your pain relieved using entirely conservative measures. Since this is a bone deformity, however, the problem can’t be truly corrected without a surgical procedure. Surgery for bunions realigns the displaced bones and restores the foot’s normal function.

Often this is saved for a last resort, if noninvasive therapies are not providing sufficient pain relief, or the problem continues to progress. The worse a bunion becomes, the more it impairs your ability to walk normally. When you decide to pursue surgery for your foot largely depends on your level of discomfort and the recommendations of specialists like our podiatrists here at Martin Foot and Ankle.

Doing the Procedure

You don’t have to wait until your foot is severely deformed to qualify for bunion surgery. Mild to moderate bunions that continue to cause pain despite treatment may be relieved by realigning the big toe. How the procedure is performed largely depends on your needs and the extent of the condition. Our staff will use diagnostic images to evaluate your bunion. Then we can discuss your surgical options with you.

Procedures can range from shaving off excess bone to restructuring and fusing the big toe. For mild conditions, you may simply need the connective tissues holding your big toe to be tightened so they hold the digit in the correct position. More advanced bunions will need more manipulation and involved remedies. Cuts in the bone tissue can help our specialists realign the toe. You may need to have the damaged portion of the joint removed. In severe cases, the joint may be fused to prevent it from moving out of position again. If your bunion created other foot complications, like hammertoes, our specialists may correct those during the procedure as well.

After the surgery, you’ll need to take extra care of your foot during the recovery process. The wound will be stitched closed and covered in a dressing. You will also wear a special boot or cast to protect your toe and limit the stress on the injury for a few weeks. As the foot heals, most likely you’ll need to participate in physical therapy to rebuild your foot strength and restore some of your range of motion.

Bunion pain can keep you from wearing normal shoes and participating in the activities you love. If conservative measures are not enough to relieve your discomfort, bunion surgery may be your best option for restoring your lower limbs and regaining your mobility. Take care of your feet to avoid surgery if possible. If you’re struggling with foot pain, however, don’t let fear of surgery keep you miserable. Contact Martin Foot and Ankle in Lancaster, Lititz, Hanover, and York, PA, for an appointment or more information about podiatry and foot care. Call (717) 757-3537 or visit our online contact page to reach us.