One of the more common conditions treated by a podiatric surgeon is the painful bunion. Patients with this condition will usually complain of pain when wearing certain shoes, especially dress shoes, or with physical activity, such as walking, running or during certain sporting activities.
A mild bunion deformity can usually be treated by conservative means. This may involve shoe gear modification, padding and a functional orthotic. When conservative measures fail to provide adequate relief, surgery is often recommended. Several surgical procedures are available to correct a bunion deformity. Selection of the most appropriate procedure for each patient requires a thorough knowledge of the level of deformity, review of the x-rays and an open discussion of the goals of the surgical procedure. Most surgical procedures require cutting and repositioning the first metatarsal. In the case of mild to moderate bunion deformities the bone cut is most often performed at the neck of the metatarsal (near the joint).
What are the symptoms of a Bunion deformity?
The most common symptoms associated with a Bunion deformity is pain which occurs on the side of the foot. Shoes will typically aggravate bunions. Stiff leather shoes or shoes with a tapered toe box are the prime offenders. This is why bunion pain is most common in women whose shoes have a pointed toe box. The bunion site will often be slightly swollen and red from the constant rubbing and irritation of a shoe. Occasionally, corns can develop between the 1st and 2nd toe from the pressure the toes rubbing against each other. On rare occasions, the joint itself can be acutely inflamed from the development of a sack of fluid over the bunion called a bursa. This is designed to protect and cushion the bone. However, it can become acutely inflamed, a condition referred to as bursitis.
How are Bunions Treated?
Early treatment of bunions is centered on providing symptomatic relief. Switching to a more comfortable shoe with a rounder, deeper toe box and made of a softer more pliable leather will often provide relief. The use of pads and cushions to reduce the pressure over the bone can also be helpful for mild bunion deformities. Also, by controlling abnormal pronation, a functional foot orthotic can help reduce the deforming forces leading to the formation of bunions. These orthotics can reduce pain in mild bunion deformities and slow the progression of the deformity.
Surgical Options for Bunions
When conservative treatment does not provide satisfactory relief from symptoms, or when the condition interferes with your activities, surgery may be necessary. Pain and deformity are significantly reduced in the great majority of patients who undergo bunion surgery. The surgery will remove the bony enlargement, restore the normal alignment of the toe joint, and relieve pain. Postoperative orthotic devices may be recommended to improve foot function.
Surgery may be performed at a hospital, surgical center or properly equipped office operating room. Depending on the procedure, the facility at which it is performed and the patient’s medical status, the surgeon may choose a local, spinal or general anesthetic. In many cases, the procedure can be performed under local anesthesia with sedation.
Bunion Treatment at Hartford Podiatry Group
At the Hartford Podiatry Group, we will take the time to evaluate your bunion and select the procedure that will yield the best result for your particular foot deformity. If you are experiencing bunion pain, come to or Hartford or Rocky Hill offices and we can discuss your specific problem in detail.
For further information about bunion pain in the Hartford area, Contact Us or call us at (860) 523-8026 today!