A bunion, or hallux valgus, typically forms when prolonged pressure on the big toe pushes it toward the second toe. Over time, an extra bone forms at the base of the big toe, and this can be painful. It can also form along the base of the little toe, known as a bunionette or tailor’s bunion.
You may be wondering: is bunion surgery worth it? In this article, we’ll go over common bunion surgery topics and help you answer this question!
What Is Bunion Surgery?
If you have bunions that cause toe pain, you may be a good candidate for a bunionectomy, a surgical procedure that removes the bunion and correctly positions the toe.
The surgical technique used to realign bones is called an osteotomy. After small cuts are made in bones to realign the joint, the break is fixed with plates, pins, or screws; this makes the bones straighter and the joint balanced.
Should I Get Bunion Surgery?
You may be ready to consider surgery if you:
- cannot perform normal daily activities.
- cannot wear shoes, even comfortable ones, without pain.
- have tried nonsurgical treatments to no avail.
- have swelling and inflammation in the big toe that doesn’t go away.
On the other hand, if your bunions only hurt when wearing pointy-toed, high-heeled shoes, surgery is not the best option.
Alternatives to Bunion Surgery
The mild pain of bunions can be managed. If you don’t think bunion surgery is right for you, here are some alternatives to consider.
Change Your Footwear
People who wear ill-fitting shoes are more likely to develop bunions. Shoes that are too tight, narrow, or pointed can cause the big toe to fall out of alignment.
The easiest way to reduce pain is to invest in shoes with a wide toe box and soft soles. If needed, use over-the-counter bunion pads to act as a buffer between your shoes and feet.
Have Custom Orthotics
Meanwhile, custom orthotics might be one of the most effective alternatives.
These shoe inserts or arch supports are custom-designed to support the problem areas in your feet. Placing these in your shoes can alleviate painful symptoms and prevent bunions from progressing.
Wear Night Splints
If the pain worsens at night, your podiatrist may prescribe bunion night splints. These pull the toe into better alignment and hold it there. While night splints are not flexible, making them uncomfortable to walk in, they’re a good option for mild to severe bunion treatment.
Take Pain Relievers
Over-the-counter pain medications, like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, relieve inflammation and reduce pain.
Try applying ice to your bunions along with taking pain relievers. Applying ice can numb the area and bring instant pain relief, which is especially needed after a long day of being on your feet.
Visit The Foot & Ankle Center
For a personalized treatment plan and help managing your bunion pain, visit The Foot & Ankle Center! Our expert podiatrists specialize in a wide range of foot and ankle ailments. We even offer same-day appointments to help keep your mind at ease and get you back to living a full and healthy life.
To get started, give us a call at 314-487-9300 or request an appointment online today!