Type of Surgery
Last updated: 11/24/2009
It may be possible to avoid surgery by preventing bunion growth from worsening. Wearing shoes that are the right size and shape is a key factor. Try on new shoes in the afternoon when the foot is more tired and perhaps has some fluid buildup. Rather...
than going by size alone, make sure the shoe fits well, and that there is proper arch support. Additionally, there should be enough space in the toe box for the toes to wiggle around.
If diagnosed early, an injection of a steroidal anti-inflammatory medication around the joint may be enough to decrease the irritation in the area and allow the joint to recuperate. This, along with proper shoes, may halt progression of the condition. If there is no pain accompanying the bunion, surgery is not necessary. Some people find that a cream containing the same ingredient as found in chili peppers, capsaicin, applied locally to the joint can decrease the pain. However, once deformity and its accompanying severe pain has occurred, it is unlikely that surgery can be avoided.
This animation describes what a bunion is and the one of the possible surgeries used to correct it, namely a metatarsal osteotomy.
A bunionectomy is a surgical procedure to excise, or remove, a bunion. A bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe and is comprised of bone and soft tissue. It is usually a result of inflammation and irritation from poorly fitting (narrow and tight) shoes inconjunction with an overly mobile first metatarsal joint and over-pronation of the foot. Over time, a painful lump appears at the side of the joint, while the big toe appears to buckle and move sideway towards the second toe. New bone growth can occur in response to the inflammatory process, and a bone spur may develop. Therefore, the development of a bunion may involve soft tissue as well as a hard bone spur. The intense pain makes walking and other activities extremely difficult. Since the involved joint is a significant structure in providing weight-bearing stability, walking on the foot while trying to avoid putting pressure on the painful area can create an unstable gait.
In 2006 a study showed that the cost of foot surgery to correct foot problems from tight-fitting shoes is $2 billion a year. If time off from work for the surgery and recovery is included, the cost is $3.5 billion.
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