A bunion is a bony lump deformity on the side of your foot that causes foot pain and can be embarrassing in appearance. They can also indirectly cause heel pain as you change your gait to minimise rubbing of your bunion on your shoe and this inflames the fibrous tissue connecting your heel bone to your toes.
Bunion surgery is foot surgery to correct the bone deformity and prevent further defect, increase foot function, and relieve pain.
What is a bunion?
A bunion is a deformity of your big toe joint caused by your big toe leaning excessively towards your second toe and forcing the joint of your big toe to get bigger and stick out. A bony lump gradually appears on the side of your foot and a large sac of fluid, called a bursa, can also form on your bunion making it sore, inflamed and, may affect how you walk.
What does a bunion surgery involve?
Although some treatments can ease the pain of bunions, only surgery can correct the deformity. Bunion surgery is normally recommended if non-surgical techniques have not relieved your symptoms.
There are a number of surgical procedures to treat bunions. Your foot surgeon will discuss the best procedure for you. This will be based on many factors including: the size of your bunion, the shape of your foot and, if you have arthritis in the joint of your big toe. Metatarsal osteotomy is a common bunion operation.
Prior to surgery you will be given a local, general or spinal anaesthetic. Your surgeon will then make one larger incision over your big toe joint on the inner side of your foot or, make several smaller cuts around your big toe joint.
Bunion surgery removes and realigns part of the deformed bone in your big toe and foot caused by the bunion, repairs and releases soft tissue around your big toe, releases and tightens ligaments and, straightens your smaller toes. Wire, screws or plates may be used to keep your realigned foot joint in its correct position.
Bunion surgery is sometimes called a bunionectomy or hallux valgus correction.
Why may I need a bunion surgery?
Bunion surgery is the only way to correct a bunion. Your doctor may recommend bunion surgery if you have pain and difficulty walking despite changing your footwear and trying other non-surgical treatments.
Signs that you might need a bunion surgery include:
• Significant foot pain is limiting your everyday activities such as walking short distances.
• Unimproved chronic big toe swelling and inflammation despite rest and medications.
• Toe deformity where your big toe is drifting toward your smaller toes.
• Inability to bend and straighten a stiff big toe.
• Changes in footwear result in no pain relief.
• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen provide no pain relief.
Bunion surgery recovery
Usually after bunion surgery, your foot will be bandaged and, you will be given crutches and a special shoe to wear to protect your foot and keep it in the correct position.
One of our physiotherapists may give you some advice about how to move around and how to use your crutches.
You will be able to go home an hour or two after your surgery.
You may need pain relief and you can take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
You should put your foot up in the first few weeks to help reduce any swelling.
Your recovery time will depend on the exact operation you have had. Your surgeon will advise you when you can put weight on your foot. Typically, you can expect to:
• stay off your feet as much as possible for at least two weeks
• avoid driving for six to 12 weeks
• stay off work for six to 12 weeks, depending on the stress your feet will be under at work
• avoid sports for up to six months
You should be aware that a bunion may return after surgery.
Bunion Surgery with Tees Valley Hospital
Tees Valley Hospital offers a range of bunion treatments, including bunion surgery, to relieve your pain, correct your deformity and increase the functionality of your foot.
We are proud to work in partnership with highly qualified and experienced podiatrists and orthopaedic surgeons with a special interest in feet. With easy access diagnostic tests and physiotherapy treatment as required, our surgeons can recommend and discuss in detail the best bunion treatment and bunion surgery for your individual needs.
We aim to provide you with the very best of care and support at Tees Valley Hospital, Teesside’s newest private hospital with state of the art facilities.
Contact us to book an appointment!