Usually described as a “big bump” on the side of your big toe, a bunion is one of the most common foot deformities that a Podiatrist will see.
This unsightly prominence on your foot may not be painful at first, but untreated, it can cause pain and discomfort and even prohibit you from wearing some of your favorite shoes.
A bunion usually appears because of a biomechanical mismatch between muscles in the foot. One muscle pulls the big toe towards the lesser toes and the counter-balancing muscle fails to win the “tug-of-war”, causing the big toe to sit slightly angled off the first foot bone. Over time, the drifting big toe can cause the second toe to dislocate from its corresponding foot bone, causing a hammertoe. As the foot bone (metatarsal bone) becomes more prominent it can grow and thicken, exacerbating the bump on the outside of the foot and causing a bunion.
Often conservative, nonsurgical treatment can alleviate the pain and discomfort bunions cause. These techniques include straps and pads and shoe inserts. It is often valuable to wear more accommodating shoes that do not put pressure on the bunion. When these interventions fail, foot surgery is an effective and common treatment plan. A foot surgeon has many options on how to surgically treat a bunion based largely on the patient’s x-rays. Bunion surgery can be as simple as shaving the prominent bone and releasing the tight tendon. The most common bunion surgery involves shaving the bump and shifting the bone over 2-4mm. This reduces the chance of the bunion ever returning and gives the patient the best outcomes. Although bunion surgery and foot surgery in general have associated risks, the best treatment for a painful bunion is to under go bunion surgery. Bunion surgery is an outpatient surgery that usually takes less than an hour.
The doctors at Foot and Ankle Specialists of The Woodlands specialize in a minimally invasive technique for bunion surgery that allows patients to bear weight immediately after surgery. A minimally invasive approach reduces the time of recovery, level of invasiveness to the body and post operative pain and discomfort. Minimally invasive bunion surgery is a great alternative to the traditional bunion procedures.