Whether you’re wearing sandals in the blazing hot summer or boots during a brutally cold winter––having a bunion is no joke. If you’re wincing every time you put on your shoes, it may be time to take care of that bunion jutting out of the base of your big toe. But, is surgery really necessary? In this article, we’ll discuss the times when surgery is needed in the instance of a bunion.
What Is a Bunion?
A bunion, also known as a hallux valgus deformity, is a condition that develops when the first metatarsal bone begins to angle outward, while the big toe moves in the direction of the second toe. This deformity gradually worsens over time.
Most people believe that tight shoes lead to bunions, but this is a common misconception. While tight shoes can make a bunion worse, they rarely are the initial cause. Instead of blaming your ill-fitting stilettos––blame your family! Bunions are largely a result of genetics. Some people are born with a foot type that’s more likely to develop this problem.
Since bunions are a progressive foot issue, a bunion left untreated can lead to enough pain and disability to make walking difficult.
- A bony bump on the side of the big toe
- Red, calloused skin along the inside edge of the big toe
- Pain in the joint
- Big toe turned toward the other toes
What Are the Treatment Options?
In the early stages of a bunion, non-surgical treatments are often the best approach. These treatments include wearing shoes with a wider toe box and using custom shoe inserts called orthotic devices. Custom inserts help to reposition the foot inside the shoe to take the pressure away from the bunion.
Unfortunately, these treatments are just used for pain management. If you want to get rid of this deformity, surgery is the only option.
Reasons to Opt-In for Bunion Surgery
Since bunions are a progressive deformity, the pain and condition will only continue to increase as time goes by. Our doctors recommend surgery for your bunion if:
- You experience pain on a daily basis.
- You have signs of arthritis in your big toe. These signs include pain deep in the big toe joint, pain when moving your big toe, pain when you aren’t wearing shoes.
- You have stopped doing normal daily activities because of pain from your bunion. For example, you stopped your daily walks because you know that your foot might hurt.
In a foot with a bunion deformity, the abnormal alignment of the big toe puts too much pressure on the joint cartilage––which is a common cause of arthritis. This joint change is progressive. When arthritis is present, delaying surgery can decrease your chances of a successful outcome.
Our podiatrists at Foot Specialists of Birmingham are ready to help you live a pain-free life. If you have a bunion, chances are, you’ve been living in pain. We’d like to help change that! Call our office to set up an appointment today.