What Is Bunion Removal?
A bunion is a bony bump that forms at the base of your big
toe, where it forms a union with a foot bone called the first metatarsal. Your
big toe points excessively towards your second toe when you have a bunion. The
bunion is a foot deformity that consists of both bone and soft tissue.
Bunions can be very painful. Wearing shoes that are too
small or too narrow in the toe area is the most common cause of bunions. This
can be thought of as a pressure-response effect. Women are more likely than men
to develop bunions.
Bunion removal is
a surgical procedure that corrects a deformed area of the foot near the big
toe. Bunion removal is sometimes called a bunionectomy, bunion surgery, or
hallux valgus correction. Hallux valgus
is a Latin phrase that means “foot deformity.” A bunion removal is necessary if
nonsurgical treatment methods don’t relieve your pain.
Many people get relief from bunion pain by wearing larger
shoes with a wider toe box. For example, someone with a bunion might choose to
wear athletic shoes instead of high heels for pain relief. Cushioning bunions
with protective pads also helps. Those who experience pain even after making
these lifestyle adjustments may choose bunion removal surgery as an effective
These scenarios make you an ideal candidate for bunion
- Your pain restricts or prohibits you from
completing everyday routines or activities.
- You can’t walk more than a few blocks without
severe foot pain.
- Your big toe remains swollen and painful even
with rest and medication.
- You can’t bend or straighten your big toe.
Discuss your condition with your doctor so they have
complete information about your symptoms and limitations. Your doctor will take
X-rays of your foot to diagnose the condition and to determine the kind of surgery
needed to correct your specific problem.
More than 100 different types of bunion removal procedures
exist to remove the bunion and to realign the big toe. The type of surgery you
need depends on how your bunion developed and its current size.
for Bunion Removal Surgery
You’ll need to undergo a few medical tests to check your
overall health before scheduling bunion removal. Your doctor will take an X-ray
of your lungs, perform a cardiogram to check your heart function, and test your
urine and blood for any underlying illnesses. You may need to stop taking
medications a few days before surgery, particularly if you take aspirin or
other blood-thinning drugs.
Bunion removal surgery is usually an outpatient procedure.
This means that you can go home a few hours after the operation and after the
general anesthesia has worn off. Your doctor will determine how long you should
fast before the surgery based on your surgery time. Follow the directions
carefully to avoid possible complications.
Most people don’t need a general anesthetic during bunion removal
surgery. Instead, you’ll get a local anesthetic called an ankle block. An ankle
block makes you numb below the ankle, but you’ll be awake for the surgery. Once
you’re completely numb, the surgeon will remove the bunion and make other
repairs to your foot. Some of the most common types of bunion removal
procedures are osteotomy, exostectomy, and arthrodesis.
- In an osteotomy,
your surgeon will cut your big toe joint and realign it to a normal position.
- In an exostectomy,
your surgeon will remove your bunion from the joint without performing an alignment.
- In an arthrodesis,
your surgeon will replace the damaged joint with screws or metal plates to
correct the deformity.
Your surgeon will bandage your foot after the surgery and
take you to the recovery room. Your blood pressure and heart rate will be
monitored as you wait for the anesthesia to wear off. Generally, you can go
home after a couple of hours in recovery.
from Bunion Surgery
While recovery after bunion surgery takes about six to eight
weeks, full recovery from bunion removal surgery can take an average of four to
six months. For the first two weeks following your surgery, you’ll wear a
surgical boot or cast to protect your foot. You should avoid getting your
After removing the cast or boot, you’ll wear a brace to
support your foot while you heal. You won’t be able to bear weight on your foot
at first, and you’ll need crutches for assistance. Gradually, you can start
putting some weight on your foot, using a walker or crutches for support. Keep
off your feet as much as you can, and ice your foot and toe to speed healing
and reduce inflammation. After a week or two, you can drive if necessary.
Expect your foot to remain swollen to some degree for
several months after bunion removal. Wear shoes with ample room to minimize
your pain. Women should try to avoid wearing high heels for at least six months
after bunion removal. Your doctor may send you to physical therapy, where
you’ll learn exercises that can strengthen your foot and lower leg.
Bunion removal surgery is highly successful. Talk to your
doctor about measures you can take to ensure your foot heals correctly. Taking
care of your feet by avoiding shoes with narrow toe boxes after surgery will
help to prevent future bunions.