A bunion (hallux valgus) is a bony bump beneath the skin of the inner side of the foot. This deformity affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A similar disfiguration can also appear on the joint at the base of the little toe. It is called bunionette or tailor’s bunion. A bunion is a deformity of both bone and soft tissue of the foot.

 

Why do bunions appear?

Bunions are most frequent in women. It is primarily because ladies are more likely to wear tight, pointed, high-heeled shoes that cause a pressure imbalance in their feet. Walking in uncomfortable footwear results in the shifting of the bones of the big toe. They begin to angle towards the second toe. The continuous pressure and irritation cause the soft tissue of the inner side of the foot to swell. Bunions may also be a result of arthritis. The tendency to form halluxes is often inherited as a family trait.

 

How to correct bunions?

Sometimes bunions can be corrected using non-invasive methods. Wearing comfortable shoes for bunions often helps to reduce swelling and pain. The footwear should be well-fitted, comfortable and soft. You can also try using toe spacers for bunions. There are, however, some cases, in which those methods are not enough to help the patient. If You have already tried non-invasive treatments, but still feel pain when walking (even in flat shoes), bunion surgery might be the best option for You.

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During bunion surgery, the surgeon removes the enlarged part of the bone. He shifts the bones in Your foot back into the right place. Sometimes the physician has to reposition the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the joint. The extent of the operation depends on the severity of Your bunion. The main goal of the procedure is to relieve You from the pain caused by the hallux valgus. This surgery is not a cosmetic one. Instead, it has a therapeutic effect and is supposed to make Your life easier.

Before You decide to undergo bunion surgery, You should consult an experienced doctor. It is best to discuss Your expectations with him and inquire about everything that might concern You. The surgeon will also ask some questions about Your health and medical history. Based on Your answers, he may order some additional examinations for You.

After bunion surgery, You might need to wear surgical footwear or a cast. It is best to limit walking and rest with Your foot elevated. Laying it down on one or two pillows should suffice. To lessen the pain, You can take painkillers, but be sure to choose only medications recommended to You by Your doctor. Some analgesic medicines, such as Aspirin, may cause bleeding from the postoperative wound.

 

Most patients cannot drive for at least one week after bunion surgery. You may need to support your foot with a brace for six to eight weeks after the procedure. You should also refrain from wearing high-heeled shoes for a minimum of six months. Every patient has to be individually advised regarding physical therapy and exercises.

It is crucially important to answer every question that the physician asks You before bunion surgery. He needs to know about any medications that You take, if You are allergic or sensitive to any medicines, and if You are pregnant (or suspect that You might be). The procedure is relatively safe, as long as You adhere to the doctor’s recommendations.

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