If you’ve ever been a fan of narrow-toed or otherwise foot-confining shoes — think pointy-toed dress shoes for men or stilettos for women — you might have set yourself up for bunions by wearing them.
Bunions are bony, hard bumps that develop on your metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint as a result of wearing ill-fitting footwear, though they may also emerge if you have a family history of bunions, osteoarthritis, or foot trauma.
A bunion causes your joint to swell and become tender and red. Inflammation happens inside your joint as well as other uncomfortable symptoms we’ll talk about.
Our accomplished team of podiatrists at Premier Foot & Ankle has extensive experience caring for patients with bunions and offers a wide range of treatments, including anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, and devices like splints.
However, sometimes the solution that’s right for a patient is surgery — but when?
Bunions can really cramp your style
In addition to pain and swelling, a bad bunion can hamper your mobility by affecting other toes, causing corns and calluses, and leading to hammertoe, when your toe develops a bend in the middle joint. This condition is also accompanied by pain and swelling of your middle toes, as well as corns, calluses, and toe rigidity — just like with bunions.
How to determine if you’re a candidate for bunion surgery
Your Premier Foot & Ankle provider may advise a surgical solution for your bunion pain and other problems if you meet certain criteria:
1. When bunion pain and discomfort overcome you
If you took your podiatrist’s advice and switched to well-fitting shoes with wide toe boxes and bid farewell to your heels long ago but still struggle with severe pain that impedes fluid movement, it might be time for surgery.
2. When noninvasive treatment is unsuccessful
If you’ve exhausted conservative bunion treatments — from pain medications to custom orthotics — your podiatrist is likely to discuss bunion surgery options.
3. If your big toe joint and your big toe itself just keep getting bigger
When inflammation worsens and doesn’t abate, a minimally invasive procedure can provide relief and finally bring that life-limiting swelling down.
4. Toe deformity
Surgery may be necessary to rectify a toe deformity or prevent your big toe from drifting toward your pinky toe, which can happen with bunions.
5. Big toe immobility
Life becomes difficult if a bunion prevents you from fully straightening your big toe or if you’re unable to bend it.
6. Your overall quality of life has become too compromised
It’s common to try to power through the pain of bunions, and it can be scary to contemplate surgery, but it might very well be the best solution if you want to get back to living a normal, pain-free, and active life.
Of course, every bunion patient’s experience and symptoms are unique, but if your podiatrist suggests surgery, it’s smart to consider it seriously.
The goal of bunion surgery and what’s it like
Bunion surgery aims to restore the function of your foot and your comfort. However, the type of bunion surgery we perform at Premier Foot & Ankle is nothing like traditional open surgery for bunions. Two types of standard surgery involve cutting and moving your big toe joint bone or making a correction at the axis of your big toe joint.
Unfortunately, these traditional surgeries aren’t only highly invasive and involve lengthy healing periods, but you also end up with a significant scar that’s anywhere from over an inch to nearly two-and-a-half inches long.
We provide minimally invasive (MIS) bunion surgery that offers you a multitude of benefits, including:
- Significantly smaller scars which are barely noticeable
- A more rapid recovery
- Speedier restored mobility
- Reduced post-surgery pain
- Less bleeding after your procedure
- If necessary, your surgeon can transition to an open procedure during MIS surgery
If other treatments haven’t provided you with relief, talk to your Premier Foot & Ankle podiatrist today to determine whether you’re a candidate for MIS bunion surgery. Contact one of our five convenient Texas locations to schedule an appointment. Call today or book online anytime.