Bunions: When Do I Need Surgery?

When does a bunion require surgery?

Bunions are an outgrowth of bone at the big toe joint caused by the joint moving out of alignment. The big toe can cross over or under the second toe and can cause pain while walking, in shoe gear and durring athletics. Bunions can lead to other problems in the toe joint including arthritis, difficulty finding shoe gear, hammer toes, arch pain and limitation of motion at the joint.

There are several causes of bunions including congenital (from birth), flat feet, high arches, shoe gear, arthritis, injury and foot instability. Bunions can be severe or mild and tend to be a progressive disorder, worsening with time.

When does your bunion become a surgical problem? We consider surgery for bunions based on:

-Failure of conservative care. Orthotics, steroid injections, shoe gear, padding, toe spacers and splinting may be used to help treat a bunion before surgery is warranted. These depend on the cause of the bunion, the pain level of the patient and desired outcome.

-Health of the patient. Bunions are an elective surgery and should not be pursued for patients with severe health concers including recent heart sttack, stroke, or vascular disease (poor blood flow).

-Pain and functional limitation. If a bunion is painful and it is keeping the pateint from pursuing reasonable activity (running, walking, shoe gear, hiking, biking, etc) the bunion may need to be surgicaly addressed.

There are several bunion procedures that can be used to correct a bunion. We work with you to figure out the right procedure based on desired activity, xray findings, recovery time and severity of the bunion. Each bunion is different and there is no one size fits all surgery.

If you have a bunion and would like to talk about your options, give us a call at (480)-632-5757 for an evaluation.

Chris Suykerbuyk, DPM, FACFAS

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