A bunion is a bony lump that forms at the base of your big toe joint. It’s an extremely common foot deformity that often leads to symptoms like pain, swelling, and difficulty walking.
Many people with bunions are able to manage their symptoms with conservative treatments, including ice therapy, pain medication, and orthotics. But sometimes, bunions get so severe that surgery is the best option.
Bunion surgery, also known as bunionectomy, is a procedure that removes your bunion and realigns your big toe. Guillermo Duarte, MD, specializes in bunionectomy at Manhattan Orthopedics, and he can help you determine if you need bunion surgery.
What to do if you have bunion
Not all bunions require surgery. Conservative care can be highly effective to manage symptoms of small bunions and keep them from getting worse. No matter your symptoms, it’s important to get a thorough evaluation by a foot and ankle specialist.
Dr. Duarte examines your foot and asks questions about your symptoms. He considers factors like the size and location of the bunion, the severity of the deformity, and the presence of any other foot problems. Then, he takes X-rays to determine the extent of the bunion.
After your exam, Dr. Duarte discusses the best course of treatment for your needs. He usually recommends trying nonsurgical treatments first. These may include:
- Wider shoes
- Bunion pads
- Custom orthotics
- Ice therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medication
If you have a severe bunion, or conservative treatments fail to provide relief, it might be time to start thinking about bunion surgery.
When to consider bunion surgery
There are several different types of bunion surgery, and Dr. Duarte chooses the best procedure for you based on the severity of your bunion and the underlying cause. Some common indications for bunion surgery include:
If your bunion is causing chronic pain, and conservative care doesn’t improve your symptoms, surgery may be your best option for lasting pain relief.
Difficulty walking or doing everyday tasks
A bunion can make it difficult to walk or balance properly, especially if it is large or particularly painful. If your bunion is interfering with your daily activities, surgery may be necessary to improve your mobility.
Significant foot deformity
A bunion can make your big toe point inward toward your other toes, which can lead to additional problems like hammertoes or calluses. In these cases, surgery can correct the deformity and help prevent further complications.
Related foot problems
Bunions can sometimes contribute to other painful foot problems, like arthritis or bursitis. If your bunion is causing other issues, surgery can help alleviate the associated pain and inflammation to improve your overall foot health.
What to expect with bunion surgery
Dr. Duarte and our team typically do bunion surgery on an outpatient basis, meaning you will be able to go home the same day as the procedure. The surgery typically takes one to three hours, and we may use local or general anesthesia.
After surgery, you need to keep your foot elevated and use crutches or a walking boot to help you get around. You can expect some pain and swelling in the first few days, but this should gradually improve. Along with your regular follow-up appointments, we may recommend physical therapy to help you regain strength and mobility in your foot.
Most people are able to return to their normal activities within a few weeks after bunion surgery, although it may take several months to fully recover. Be sure to follow Dr. Duarte’s instructions for post-surgery care to ensure a successful recovery.
When bunion pain interferes with your daily routine, surgery can provide significant relief and improve your quality of life. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Duarte at one of our office locations in Astoria, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, New York to get started today.