6 Signs It’s Time to Consider Bunion Surgery

Jan 04, 2024
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Bunions are common foot deformities that can become painful and even debilitating. Here’s a look at signs it’s time to consider bunion surgery for relief.

You’re going about your day when you notice that the bump near your big toe feels swollen and painful. While such symptoms used to be mild and infrequent, they’ve become excruciating and persistent. Meanwhile, the subtle bump has grown into a large, angular deformity.

If you relate to that scenario, you may be dealing with a bunion that could benefit from bunion surgery, also called a bunionectomy. Surgery isn’t the only or best treatment for every bunion.

At Mayfair Foot Care in Commack, New York, Drs. Edward Buro, Christine Peterson, and Rosario Saccomanno offer conservative and surgical treatment for bunions to help keep you on your feet with comfort and prevent worsening symptoms.

Let’s delve into this common foot complaint, including signs it’s time to consider surgery.

How bunions form

Most anyone can develop a bunion on one or both feet, but certain factors increase your risk. Because they often stem from prolonged stress on the joint at the base of your toe, wearing high heels or tight, narrow shoes are a common culprit.

You may also develop bunions because of genetic factors, meaning they run in your family, or as a result of arthritis. Bunions are especially linked with rheumatoid arthritis.

Signs you need bunion surgery

Because bunions affect people differently, it’s important to work closely with your doctor to determine the best option for you. 

Signs that may prompt us to recommend bunion surgery include:

  1. An inability to bend or straighten your big toe
  2. Chronic big toe inflammation
  3. Foot pain that continues even when you’re wearing supportive shoes
  4. Severe foot pain
  5. Severe foot deformity
  6. Symptoms that don’t improve with conservative measures

Those conservative options often include switching to comfortable, non-heeled shoes, resting and elevating the affected foot, and applying an ice pack for 10-20 minutes at a time during flare-ups. Custom orthotics, physical therapy, and corticosteroid injections can also help you avoid surgery or promote healing and ease pain after surgery.

What to expect from bunion surgery

If it turns out that you do need bunion surgery, the procedure involves reshaping the joint by cutting away and repositioning bones. Once placed, metal screws then help keep your big toe straight.

You won’t experience pain during bunion surgery, thanks to anesthesia. And because it’s usually an outpatient procedure, you’ll likely return home the same day to rest and recover.

Pain and swelling after your surgery should gradually improve over the course of six weeks. During that time, you’ll wear a cast or walking boot that keeps your toe stable as the joint heals. From there, you might experience minor pain or swelling for 6-12 months. 

Our team will review your aftercare instructions, which may include things like avoiding driving and heavy lifting for a period. Bunion surgery is successful about 90% of the time, and we’re here to help ensure your best possible results.

Call Mayfair Foot Care or schedule an appointment using our online booking feature today to find out if you’re a good candidate for bunion surgery or get started with the care you need.