A bunion, also known as hallux valgus, is a common foot condition. It is a painful bony lump that develops on the side of your big toe joint. This bony bump gradually happens when your big toe leans towards your second toe. it can be painful and affect how you walk.
Bunion surgery is a treatment for bunions to relieve pain and improve function. There are a few types of bunion surgery, sometimes called bunionectomy. They typically involve repositioning your big toe.
You should see a doctor about a bunion if you have:
There are different techniques involved in bunion surgery, that can include:
Because bunions vary in shape and size, there are different types of bunion surgery to correct them. The different bunion surgical procedures include:
The alternatives to bunion surgery are non-surgical treatments. They won’t get rid of your bunion but they will relieve the pain and may help to prevent them from getting worse.
These can include:
Bunion surgery is used to treat severe bunions that are causing significant pain and affecting your quality of life. It is usually recommended if you’ve tried other more conservative bunion treatments.
Your doctor will assess your bunion and discuss treatment recommendations. Typically, you will need bunion surgery if your bunion is painful or causing functional problems. Problems that would indicate bunion surgery include:
Surgery is the only way to get rid of your bunion. Bunion surgery straightens your big toe and removes the painful prominence. It also aims to prevent a bunion reoccurring.
You should benefit from: reduced pain, walking easier, and being able to find shoes that fit your foot comfortably.
Removing a bunion also reduces your risk of bunion complications that can include bone spurs, bursitis, hammertoes and osteoarthritis.
Your surgeon will consider the severity of your bunion, your general health, activity levels and age, and any medications you take. They may request a foot X-ray to help them clearly see the deformity in your foot and to decide where along the bone to perform surgery. Your surgeon will discuss your surgery with you and what you are to expect.
Bunion surgery can be performed under local, general or spinal anaesthetic. Before surgery, you will be given an anaesthetic. If you decide to have a general or spinal anaesthetic, your doctor will advise you when to stop eating and drinking. You should also arrange a lift home and for a friend or family member to stay with you for 24 hours.
It is also a good idea to prepare your home for when you return after surgery as you may find it difficult to move around at first, especially if you are using crutches. This may involve rearranging some furniture to make access easy and moving items so you can reach them without difficulty. If your home has stairs, you may choose and prepare to sleep downstairs.
Your podiatrist or orthopaedic foot surgeon will perform your bunion surgery. Bunion removal surgery typically takes less than an hour and you should be able to go home the same day. There are a number of different types of bunion surgery and the type of operation will be based on the severity of your deformity. Metatarsal osteotomy is a common bunion surgery.
Before surgery you will be given a general, local or spinal anaesthetic. Your surgeon will make a cut over your big toe joint on the inner side of your foot or, make several small incisions around your big toe joint.
Bunion surgery usually involves cutting and removing part of the bone in your big toe to correct its alignment. Additionally, soft tissue around your big toe may be repaired, your ligaments may be released or tightened and, your smaller toes straightened. Pins, plates, or screws may be used to hold everything in place.
Your foot will probably be in a bandage and this will need to be kept dry. Often patients are given crutches or a brace and a special post-operative shoe to wear to protect your foot. You will be advised about how much weight you can place on your foot.
You can expect mild pain for the first 48 hours. This can be treated with painkillers.
It is important to keep moving your toe to keep it flexible.
For the first couple of weeks, you should rest with your foot up to help reduce any swelling.
You will be able to drive again when you can wear a normal shoe again and you can safely do an emergency stop. First, you should check with your surgeon and car insurance company.
Three to six months after bunion surgery, you can return to normal walking or sports activities.
The type of job you do will determine how quickly you can return to work. If you sit down most of the time, you may be able to go back after six weeks. If your job is more physically demanding, you may need to be off work for up to 12 weeks.
You must follow your surgeon’s post-operative advice. We will arrange a follow-up appointment to check on your recovery.
Your doctor will discuss the risks or complications of bunion surgery with you. They are rare, and are usually easy to treat but may prologue your recovery. The risks of bunion surgery include:
This is a day case procedure so typically you’ll go home the same day. You should stay off your feet as much as possible for at least two weeks. You’ll be advised to wear a post-operative shoe that protects your foot and you may need crutches or a brace. You must follow your doctor’s post-operative advice.
The time it takes to recover from bunion surgery will depend on the exact surgery you had.
Typically, it will take around three months to heal after bunion surgery and you’ll usually need to avoid driving and stay off work during this time. Normally you are advised to avoid sport for six months. You should ask your surgeon about your recovery based on your individual circumstances.
The cost of your bunion surgery for one foot will depend on the severity of your bunion, the exact bunion treatment required, and your chosen Ramsay hospital.
If you decide to pay for your treatment, Ramsay offer an all-inclusive Total Care package, where a single one-off payment at a pre-agreed price, delivering direct access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance. You can also spread the cost of your treatment with finance options available.
Bunion surgery may be covered by your medical insurance policy. We advise you to check directly with your insurance provider and get written confirmation before commencing treatment.
Ramsay Health Care hospitals offer a range of bunion treatments including bunion surgery to relieve your pain and help you to walk more comfortably. We have expert podiatrists and orthopaedic surgeons with a special interest in feet who can recommend and discuss in detail the best bunion treatment for your needs.
You can rest assured that our surgeons regularly perform bunion surgery and that they will take every care to achieve the best results to remove the deformity and restore your foot function.
Mr Rupinderbir Singh Deol
Mr Rupe Deol is an Orthopaedic Surgeon at Pinehill Hospital in Hertfordshire who specialises in foot and ankle surgeryRead more
Mr Karan Johal
Mr Karan Johal is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon who specialises in Foot and Ankle surgeryRead more
Mr Simon Mordecai
Mr Simon Mordecai is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon who specialises in Foot and Ankle surgeryRead more
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