Having a bunion is not fun. It can be incredibly painful as it develops and will only get worse the longer you leave it alone instead of seeking treatment for it. A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the side of the foot just below the big toe. Pain is common especially when the bone rubs against your shoe.
When you visit an OrthoBethesda specialist for foot bunions, we will recommend and perform conservative treatments for your condition. However, if the pain does not subside or the bunion does not go away, we will recommend bunion surgery, also known as a bunionectomy.
What is a Bunion?
A bunion, also known as a hallux valgus, is a mixture of bone and tissue in the foot. It most often forms around the joint near the big toe. Bunions most often form when the bone that connects the big toe to the metatarsal bone grows larger. The result is the tightening of the tendons, which then causes the big toe to angle out. The result of all of this is a bunion, which can be incredibly uncomfortable.
What Causes Bunions?
The most common cause of bunions is wearing shoes that are too narrow or too small. This causes the toes to be compressed into unnatural positions. The most common people to develop bunions are women, due in large part to wearing high-heeled shoes or those that are very narrow at the point where the toes meet on the foot. Polio, arthritis, other diseases, and genetics can also cause bunions to develop on the foot.
Signs You Might Require Bunion Surgery
The following signs indicate that you might require bunion surgery on your foot if you aren’t quite sure or haven’t spoken to a podiatrist in Arlington:
- Pain while wearing shoes
- Swelling at the base of the big toe
- Red, calloused skin
- Decreased mobility of your big toe
- Big toe begins turning inward toward your second toe
- Large, bulging bump at the base of your big toe
- Corns and calluses forming where your large toe and second toe overlap
Determining the Severity of Your Bunion
The surgeon examining your bunion will determine the severity of the bunion based on various factors. Depending on the severity of the bunion, the surgeon will then make a decision as to which procedure will be performed to remove it from your foot. The levels of severity are as follows:
- Mild: A mild bunion procedure involves removing the enlarged portion of the bone and then realigning the tendons, muscles, and ligaments.
- Moderate: A moderate bunion procedure involves cutting the bone and then moving it into its natural position. The ligaments and tendons surrounding the bone might need to be realigned.
- Severe: Severe bunion procedures of the heel involve removing the area of enlarged bone, cutting the bone, realigning the bone, and correcting the ligament and tendon positions.
- Arthritic bunion: Arthritic bunion procedures involves fusing bones so they can heal together. This is often required because the bone is too damaged to be repaired or treated with medicine because of arthritis. Reconstruction of the joint near the toes might be required and if so, this is done using replacement implants.
Medical Procedure Options for Foot and Ankle Surgery and Bunions
When you visit OrthoBethesda in Arlington, Virginia for ankle pain, foot and ankle problems, heel pain, bunions, or ankle care; the doctor will review the diagnosis from the podiatrist and ensure that surgery and medicine are the right options for you. Please call (301) 530-1010 to schedule a consultation today.
Foot and ankle conditions can limit your range, mobility, and ability to perform everyday tasks. Heel pain and pain caused by a bunion can be resolved via surgery. Conservative treatment methods will likely be suggested first by a podiatrist, but if they don’t work, a surgical procedure near Falls Church can relieve you of your pain. Conservative treatment options include the following:
- Designed shoes or inserts
- Taping or padding the area
- Physical therapy
- Medications for pain and inflammation
There are three main surgical options for bunions, but all have the same goals:
- Realign the joint
- Correct the foot deformity
- Relieve discomfort
This procedure involves the realignment of the large toes. This is done by fusing the bones that form together at the joint located at the base of the toes. The first metatarsal can no longer move abnormally once the fusion is complete. This then allows the large toes to move normally and not become bunched up, therefore prevent bunions from forming again.
This is an open-foot surgery that is the most common when dealing with foot and ankle problems. Since it is an open surgery it is not considered minimally invasive. The toe’s joint will be realigned after an incision is made near the issue. There are three types of osteotomy surgery available, including akin, chevron, and scarf osteotomies.
Minimally Invasive Surgery
A foot and ankle procedure for bunions that involves only keyhole incisions to remove the issue and repair the deformity, this procedure does not involve a lot of deep incisions. An arthroscopic tube is used to perform this surgery. It has a camera and a light attached to the end of it so doctors can get a better view of the affected area. An arthroscopic tube is used in ankle replacement surgery too.
The Risks of Surgery for Your Foot
Any type of surgical procedure recommended by a podiatrist and performed by a specialist at the OrthoBethesda office center in Virginia will have risks and potential complications. They include the following:
- Damage to nerves
- Continued painful issues
- A potential second surgery to correct problems
Preparing for Foot and Ankle Surgery
Did you elect to undergo a procedure to remedy your foot or ankle pain? If so, you will need to do the following to prepare for the procedure:
- Ask questions about the procedure
- Sign the consent form that allows the procedure to happen
- Undergo a medical exam
- Have your medical history reviewed
- Inform the medical team of any allergies to medications
- Disclose any history of bleeding disorders
- Disclose pregnancy, if applicable
- Fast for eight hours leading up to the appointment
- Take a sedative prior to the procedure
- Have a family member drive you home following the procedure
Foot Care Following Surgery in Virginia
The podiatrist who spoke with you about medical treatment for this foot issue recommends following all of the instructions given to you following your foot and ankle procedure. If you do not follow the instructions for care after the surgical procedure, your conditions could wind up worsening. The instructions from the Virginia podiatrist include the following:
- Keep the bandage clean and dry
- Do not put any weight on the foot
- Use crutches for at least two weeks
- Elevate the foot above your heart to help reduce swelling conditions
- Attend physical therapy
- Perform exercises prescribed by the podiatrist
- Eat a healthy diet to keep your weight manageable
Be sure to follow these instructions for at least two weeks after the bone surgery as recommended by our specialist. Recovery time takes weeks, but you likely won’t require a second surgery for your bunion. If you develop a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, be sure to call a foot ankle doctor immediately as this could be a sign of a serious infection.
If you have questions about the instructions, be sure to call our office at (301) 530-1010 to speak with a foot and ankle specialist. Not following the instructions could result in more challenging conditions.
Schedule an Appointment with OrthoBethesda Today
An appointment with a podiatrist or other specialist at OrthoBethesda to discuss treatment options for your bunion can help relieve painful problems following your injuries. Whether you enjoy playing sports, going for long walks, or stand on your feet all day at work; a bunion can make any of these activities very difficult to perform. A foot and ankle doctor at our office can help you understand the methods available for a bunion on your toe’s joint at an appointment in our office.
Schedule an appointment with a specialist today by calling (301) 530-1010 to discuss your foot and ankle sports injuries and conditions. Foot and ankle surgery comes with long recovery times. However, ankle pain on the foot can be dealt with accordingly with surgery recommended by a podiatrist in Arlington. Please call our center in Virginia today for more information about minimally invasive ankle care.