Bunion surgery is a procedure for reducing the pain and discomfort, as well as correct any deformity caused by a bunion.
A bunion is an enlargement of the bone or tissue around a joint located at the base of your big toe or of the little toe.
They usually form when your joint is stressed over a prolonged period. This problem is more common in women than men, especially if one wears tight, pointed, and confining shoes. They can sometimes result from arthritis as well or even maybe inherited from one’s parents.
Though not all bunions require surgery, your doctor might recommend one if your symptoms are too severe. However, you should discuss properly with your doctor before going for a surgery, and not opt for it just because of the way the bunion makes your foot appear.
People usually consider bunion surgery if they are having severe foot pain that occurs when they are walking or wearing flat and comfortable shoes. Also, when chronic big toe inflammation and swelling can’t be relieved with rest or medicines, surgery can be considered.
People also go for this surgery for other reasons, which can include toe deformity, a drifting in of the big toe towards the small toe, or an inability to bend or straighten one’s big toe. Please note that the surgery can be recommended by your healthcare provider for a few other reasons as well.
Your healthcare provider will give you the details of the procedure and will also give you time for asking any questions that you might have regarding the procedure. Next, you will sign a consent form that gives your permission for the procedure. You must read it carefully and ask any questions if you have any doubts.
Along with providing your complete medical history, you will need to undergo a complete physical exam as this will help your doctor in making sure that you are in good health before you undergo the procedure. You might need to undergo blood tests or other diagnostic tests. If you are sensitive to or allergic to any medicines, anesthetic agents, etc. you need to inform your healthcare providers about it. Also, let them know about any medication or supplement if you are taking.
If you have a history of bleeding disorders or if you are taking any anticoagulant medicines, you might need to stop taking them before your procedure. If you are pregnant or might be pregnant, you should notify your doctor regarding this. You might be asked to fast for eight hours before your procedure.
Depending on your health condition, other specific preparations might be requested by your healthcare provider.
Bunion surgery can be done as a part of your stay in a hospital in some cases, but in most cases, it is done on an outpatient basis. Depending on your condition and your health provider’s practices, your procedure may vary. Most of the surgeries are performed under ankle block anesthesia, in which the foot is numb, but the person is awake. General or spinal anesthesia is also used.
You will need to remove your clothes and change into a gown. After you lie down, an intravenous line might be started in your arm or hand. The skin over your bunion will then be cleansed using an antiseptic solution. Then your surgeon might use local or general anesthesia, after which portions of your bone, ligament, and tendons will be cut, realigned, and possibly removed, based upon how severe your bunion is.
After the procedure
After the surgery is complete, you will be taken to the recovery room where you will be observed for some time. Depending on your situation, your recovery process can vary. The circulation and sensation of the foot will also be monitored. Once your blood pressure, pulse and breathing are stable and you are alert, you will be taken to your hospital room, after which you will be discharged.
For the first few weeks after surgery, you will need to care for your foot at home, and for this, you will be given specific instructions as well. You might also be given a special surgical shoe to protect your foot while you are being discharged.
While resting, you will need to keep your foot elevated, probably on a pillow or two to help reducing pain and swelling. They might also recommend that you apply ice and limit walking. After your surgery, you might also need to use a cane or walker for a few days. The stitches will be removed around two weeks after your surgery.
If you experience soreness, you can take a pain reliever as recommended by your doctor. Aspirin or certain other pain medicines can, however, increase the chances of bleeding. Make sure that you take only recommended medicines. You might also be prescribed antibiotics to help the prevention of any kind of infection following your surgery.
You need to notify your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher
- Redness, bleeding, swelling, or any other drainage from your incision site
- Increased pain around your incision site
- Swelling in the lower leg of your affected foot
You can try exercises or physical therapy to help your foot recover its strength after surgery. For at least six months after the surgery, high heels should be avoided.
Please note that your doctor might give you additional or alternative instructions after your procedure, depending on your situation.
Like any other surgical procedure, some complications can happen as a result of bunion surgery, which includes:
- Delayed healing
Sometimes recurrence of the bunion can also be an issue. Sometimes you might also experience nerve damage and continued pain. In rare cases, the surgery may also result in overcorrection of your problem. If this happens, your big toe can extend away from the other toes.
Depending on your specific medical condition, there might be few other risks as well. Therefore it is best that you discuss the benefits as well as risks of your procedure before you choose to go for the surgery.