A bunion is a bony bump that forms at the base of your big toe, where it forms a union with a foot bone called the first metatarsal. Your big toe points excessively toward your second toe. Bunion is a foot deformity that consists of both bone and soft tissue and can be very painful.
Wearing shoes that are too small or too narrow in the toe area is the most common cause of bunions. This can be thought of as a pressure-response effect. Women are more likely than men to develop bunions. Bunion removal is sometimes called a bunionectomy, bunion surgery, or hallux valgus correction.
More than 100 different types of bunion removal procedures exist to remove the bunion and to realign the big toe. The type of surgery you need depends on how your bunion developed and its current size.
Some of the most common types of bunion removal procedures are:
Osteotomy, your surgeon will cut your big toe joint and realign it to a normal position.
Exostectomy, your surgeon will remove your bunion from the joint without performing an alignment.
Arthrodesis, your surgeon will replace the damaged joint with screws or metal plates to correct the deformity.
You’ll need to undergo a few medical tests to check your overall health before scheduling bunion removal.
Have your assistive devices (crutches/walker) prescription filled and ensure that you know how to use them. Remember to bring your crutches with you on the day of surgery.
Do NOT eat or drink anything at the night of the surgery.
Wearing properly fitted shoes that are not too tight.
Arrange someone to drive you home.
Wash your foot (feet) daily with betadine surgical scrub.
Bunion removal surgery is usually an outpatient procedure. This means that you can go home a few hours after the operation and after the general anesthesia has worn off.
Your surgeon will decide the best options for your procedure. Your surgeon will bandage your foot after the surgery and take you to the recovery room.
Your foot will be bandaged. For the first two weeks following your surgery, you’ll wear a surgical boot or cast to protect your foot. You should avoid getting your stitches wet.
After removing the cast or boot, you will likely need to wear a brace to support your foot while you heal. You won’t be able to bear weight on your foot at first, and you’ll need crutches for assistance. Gradually, you can start putting some weight on your foot, using a walker or crutches for support.
Keep off your feet as much as you can. Ice your foot and toe to speed healing and reduce inflammation. After a week or two, you can drive if necessary.
Your doctor may send you to physical therapy, where you’ll learn exercises that can strengthen your foot and lower leg.
Recovery after bunion surgery takes about six to eight weeks, full recovery from bunion removal surgery can take an average of four to six months.
Because keeping your toe in position is essential for successful healing, it is very important to follow your doctor’s directions about dressing care and exercises to maintain the results as much as you can.
The possible risks and complications of bunion surgery include:
Failure to relieve pain
Failure of the bone to fully heal
Stiffness of the big toe joint
Recurrence of the bunion