A bunion is a bone deformity caused by an enlargement of the metatarsophalangeal joint, which is the joint at the base and side of the big toe, and they are often caused by wearing shoes that are too tight. Bunions form when the toe moves out of place, and the enlargement and its protuberance cause friction and pressure as they rub against footwear.
Over time, the movement of the big toe angles in toward the other toes, sometimes overlapping a third toe, known as Hallux Valgus. The growing enlargement or protuberance then causes more irritation or inflammation. In some cases, the big toe moves toward the second toe and rotates or twists, which is known as Hallux Abducto Valgus. Bunions can also lead to other toe deformities, such as hammertoe.
Bunions can interrupt your lifestyle, as they can make everyday activities painful. Many people with bunions experience discomfort and pain from the constant irritation, rubbing, and friction of the enlargement against shoes, and the skin over the toe becomes red and tender. Because this joint flexes with every step, the bigger the bunion gets, the more it hurts to walk. Over time, bursitis or arthritis may set in, the skin on the bottom of the foot may become thicker, and everyday walking may become difficult—all contributing to chronic pain.
Bunions are fairly common, as it’s estimated that bunions occur in 33 percent of the population in Western countries. While bunions are not hereditary, they do tend to run in families because of a faulty foot structure. Foot injuries, neuromuscular problems, flat feet, and pronated feet can also contribute to their formation. If you are experiencing toe pain due to a bunion, the experts at South Texas Podiatry can help.
Because they are bone deformities, bunions do not resolve by themselves. There are two goals in bunion treatment. The first is to relieve the pressure and pain caused by irritations, and the second is to stop any progressive growth of the enlargement.
Commonly used methods for reducing pressure and pain caused by bunions include:
Depending on the size of the enlargement, misalignment of the toe, and pain experienced, conservative treatments may not be adequate to prevent progressive damage from bunions. In this case, foot bunion surgery becomes an option. Bunion surgery can reduce or eliminate the joint deformity, improve joint alignment and function, attempt to reduce wear and tear on the big toe joint and prevent deformity of other toes.
Toe bunion surgery falls into three categories, such as:
Prior to the surgery, patients may need to make some preparatory steps. These include:
Bunion surgery may be performed with IV sedation and a local anesthetic which is administered by an anesthesiologist. General anesthesia may also be utilized at times. A long acting local anesthetic is injected by the surgeon before the surgery is over so that there is no or minimal pain immediately after the surgery, so you will likely not feel much pain.
The type of bunionectomy you receive will determine how soon one can bear weight on the foot after surgery, but the majority of such procedures do allow weight bearing with a surgical shoe. It is important to elevate the foot after surgery to prevent swelling. The foot will be covered in bandages, which you will need to keep dry for up to 2 ½ weeks or until the sutures are removed.
Sutures are generally removed about 2 to 2 1/2 weeks after the surgery in the office. Once the sutures are removed, you can bathe and shower, but occasionally may need to wear a dressing over the wound to prevent infection.
The majority of patients can start to return to a running shoe or walking shoe between the third and fourth week. Physical therapy may be recommended to restore strength and flexibility and help eliminate swelling. Follow your podiatrist's instructions for increasing exercise and activities until you are back to normal.
If you are looking for a podiatrist in San Antonio, Texas, you’ve come to the right place. Bunions and foot ailments shouldn’t put you on the sidelines. At South Texas Podiatry, we not only offer bunion treatment and surgeries, but we also provide a variety of services ranging from achilles tendonitis to plantar fasciitis. If you or a loved one are in need of a foot doctor, visit our office at , or call us at to get more information.