Debunking Common Bunion Myths
A bunion, a structural problem of the big toe joint, causes a bony prominence. To correct this problem, surgery is commonly performed. Some people, however, simply avoid surgery because they might have heard some misnomers that lead to their decision.
So, what are these misnomers? Let us debunk some of them:
MYTH #01: Bunion surgery is EXCRUCIATINGLY painful.
Technically speaking, bunion surgery is not “more” painful than other foot surgeries. Foot surgery, in general, may have increased pain post-operatively only because the foot is below the heart, so the blood rushes rush to the area, causing a throbbing feeling. The foot does not have much soft tissue surrounding its bones, and this is another reason why moderate swelling post-operatively can aggravate the nerves, thus causing pain. Many patients find that the postoperative discomfort, however, is tolerable with sufficient pain medication and a program dedicated to pain relief.
MYTH #02: Bunions can come back after surgery.
Majority of patients are satisfied with the outcome following a bunion surgery. Recurrence is possible, yes, but not particularly likely. A return of a bunion is not a complication, but it is something that can happen overtime. Some patients who have excessive motion in the foot might predispose them to recurrence. Another possible reason for a recurrence is when a procedure was performed but it was not the best solution for the severity of the particular bunion. This is why it is important to only have surgery when it is tailored for your particular bunion.
MYTH #03: You have to be off work for a long time.
This is not true, and it depends on the demands of your workplace. For instance, a patient who has a sedentary desk job can return to work within two weeks of the surgery. This still varies based on surgeon protocol as well as the type of bunionectomy that was performed. Jobs, however, that require excessive standing, walking, and physical activity may require a medical leave of absence which can typically be up to two months – again, depending on the healing and job requirements. Getting around after a bunion surgery can be difficult and driving may be off limits for some time if you have your right foot operated or if you drive a manual.
MYTH #04: Do not fix a bunion unless it is painful.
Pain is not the only deciding factor why one gets a bunion surgery. The concern with correcting a non-painful bunion surgically is that the surgery can result in postoperative pain that was not there prior. However, if the bunion interferes with daily activities, continues to become larger, or if you find it difficult to wear shoes or sometimes, you just find the bunion to be unsightly, then surgery can be performed. Pain is the most common reason why people seek treatment.