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Bunion Surgery; Procedure, Preparing and Recovery

Bunion Surgery; Procedure, Preparing and Recovery 

If you have a bunion, you know it can become painful. A bunion can occur as a result of the overgrowth of bone. But more commonly, it develops due to a misalignment of the joint of the big toe.

Although it can vary, bunions often get worse over time. What happens is pressure from the big toe joint pushes towards the second toe, which alters the structure of the bone. Over time, a bunion develops.

In most cases, bunions start small. But they become larger over several years. As the bunion becomes bigger, it can cause pain. Depending on bunions size, it can also make it painful to wear certain types of shoes. A large bunion, which moves out of alignment, can also change the appearance of the foot.

A bunion can be treated at home with a combination of methods. For instance, using a protective pad to prevent friction between the shoes and the toe can reduce skin irritation. Wearing the right footwear that allows room for the bunion can also help. Sometimes wearing a splint at bedtime can help the toe stay in the proper alignment.

Do I need bunion surgery? 

In many cases, the above strategies are enough to help decrease discomfort and prevent the need for surgery. But in some instances, your podiatrist may recommend bunion surgery, such as in the following cases:

  • You have foot pain even if you wear comfortable shoes
  • Inflammation of the big toe is not reduced with medication
  • Inability to straighten the big toe
  • Deformity of the toe
  • The bunion interferes with your activities

What happens during the procedure? 

If you appear to be a good candidate for bunion surgery, your foot specialist will determine what type of procedure may be the most appropriate. After deciding on the procedure, you will be given preoperative instructions.

Bunion surgery is performed using different techniques. Minimally invasive surgery is an option in many cases. During minimally invasive bunion surgery, the foot specialist uses special instruments, which do not require large cuts in the skin. Smaller openings are used to get to the bone.

Although it can vary, many of the same bunion correction techniques can be performed using the minimally invasive method, including realignment of the joint.

Minimally invasive surgery is performed as an outpatient in the office. Usually, a local anesthetic is given so you don’t feel any pain during the procedure. After the procedure is completed, you will be given postoperative instructions, such as activities to avoid and how to care for the incisions. Although cases can vary, casts are typically not needed, allowing someone to return to their activities sooner.

What is recovery like? 

Although the recovery process for bunion surgery can vary individually, most people recover well. In most cases, if a minimally invasive technique is used, less trauma to the soft tissue occurs. Less trauma means less swelling, bleeding, and pain than with other types of bunion surgery.

Usually, minimally invasive surgery to treat bunions allows people to get back on their feet quicker than traditional surgery. For instance, casts are typically not needed, which allows someone to return to their activities sooner.

You may have some discomfort after surgery, which your foot specialist will provide instruction on how to treat.

Complications are uncommon. But watch for the following signs and symptoms, which could indicate a complication:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Poor wound healing
  • Excessive swelling
  • Excessive pain
  • Infection

If you have any questions about bunions, including surgical options, we are happy to help. Also, if you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Podiatrist Sheldon Nadal, D.P.M at Bayview Eglinton Podiatry Clinic in Toronto.


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