What are Bunions?
Bunions are a foot deformity made up of bone and soft tissue that form on the base of your big toes. They usually develop when you wear shoes that are too tight or small in the toe area, which can cause the bones in the big toe to become misaligned. Bunions in the feet are more common in women who wear high heels but they can also be inherited. They are often painful and can inhibit your ability to perform everyday tasks.
Instead of dealing with continual foot pain due to bunions, often people choose to have them removed. The podiatrists at Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care perform bunion removal surgery, called a bunionectomy, on a daily basis.
Bunion surgery is recommended only after other treatments, such as wearing proper shoes, fail to correct their symptoms. There are a number of surgical approaches for bunionectomy. Newer advancements in technology allow for better correction and earlier weight-bearing, with Lapiplasty, Lapifuse, and other patented technology available for this type of surgical procedure. Your foot and ankle surgeon will discuss which is most appropriate for your condition so you will know what to expect.
During this outpatient procedure, the podiatrist makes an incision in the top or side of your big toe joint, then realigns or removes the bone and soft tissue, thus alleviating pain. In some cases, small plates, screws, or wires are used to keep the foot bone from becoming misaligned again.
Recovery from bunion surgery can take several weeks or up to six months, and it may take as much as a year for your foot to completely heal. You must keep your stitches dry until they are removed about two weeks following surgery.
You may have to wear special shoes, a splint, or a cast to keep the bones in place. Depending on the extent of your procedure, you may need to keep weight off your foot for one to two months, after which you can resume normal activities.
What to Expect Before Surgery
Undergoing surgery is a decision that should be taken very seriously as not all patients are viable candidates. To make sure you are healthy enough to take on surgery, your doctor will evaluate the condition of your foot and medical history, and possibly even order lab tests.
Surgery of any kind is likely to induce a bit of nerves – and that is perfectly normal. There are, however, steps you can take to be proactive and ensure a healthy, speedy recovery that gets you walking comfortably sooner than later.
- Stock up on what you need at home and make sure that it is easily accessible, so you don’t have to struggle to help yourself later.
- Rearrange furniture and items around the house so that you are less likely to injure yourself.
- Avoid smoking and excessive drinking to reduce the risk of post-surgical problems and expected recovery time.
- Ask for help. Let your friends and family support you with tasks that may be difficult or dangerous to do alone.
As always, follow any recommendations made by your doctor and surgeon to help you recover and heal quickly and safely. Over the following weeks and months, you will be able to slowly incorporate more of your regular activities, and ultimately, get back to your complete routine.