Nearly a quarter of the American population — more women than men — live with a bunion, a deformity in your big toe joint that causes it to point inward toward your other toes. Once you’re over 65, that proportion jumps to 36%. It might look like a relatively harmless knobby foot bump, but a bunion can cause chronic pain and impede your mobility. 

What’s more, bunions have been linked to pain in other areas of your body, like your knees, lower back, and hip.  

Continuous pressure on your big toe joint, the metatarsophalangeal joint, starts the repositioning of the big toe. Bunion development is hastened by a variety of factors, like wearing tight shoes with narrow toe boxes, joint damage from injury or wear and tear, performing work where you stand for long periods, getting older, living with arthritis, or simply having a parent who had bunions. 

There are many conservative treatments that can relieve bunion discomfort, but if yours is severe, surgery may be the best and sometimes only option. Dr. Apurva Dalal performs bunionectomies routinely, and Tri-State Orthopaedics offers excellent diagnostic services, advanced surgical treatment, and careful follow-up care if you opt for surgical correction. 

Don’t ignore a bunion

Your bunion may seem innocuous now, but it can be the source of many foot problems down the road:

  • Hammertoes
  • Bursitis (when the sacs filled with fluid that surround your joints become inflamed)
  • Metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of your foot)
  • Ingrown nails
  • Corns and calluses

In addition, bunions can impair your balance, lead to gait problems, and even up your risk for falls. 

When bunion surgery is necessary

If standard treatments haven’t worked, and you’re living with chronic and worsening pain, having problems walking, or enduring prolonged big-toe swelling despite using medications or resting your foot, Dr. Dalal may recommend surgery. He leans toward this option if he observes that your big toe’s natural position is moving toward crossing over and sitting atop your other toes. 

Through imaging tests and visual examination, Dr. Dalal grades your bunion from mild to severe, and determines what type of surgery you need.

If your bunion is mild, he advises bunionectomy, a procedure in which he shaves off the protruding part of your bone and realigns your muscles, ligaments, and tendons around your joint, while a moderate bunion may require that he cuts your bone so he can reposition it. 

If you suffer from a severe bunion, Dr. Dalal performs an osteotomy. He may need to remove the enlarged part of your bone, realign it, and reposition your tendons and ligaments. Dr. Dalal also might use pins and screws to position your metatarsal bone after rotating it. 

What happens before bunion surgery and how to prepare for it

In order to ensure a successful surgery, we take X-rays and other imaging tests so Dr. Dalal gets as much information as possible about what he needs to correct, perform blood and other diagnostic tests, talk to you about medications and supplements you take, and, depending on what type of anesthesia you receive, ask you to fast the night before your surgery. 

Dr. Dalal also makes sure your lungs and heart are functioning properly and he asks you to stop taking blood thinners if they’re prescribed to you usually.

The surgery is an outpatient procedure so you want home to be as inviting and comfortable for your recovery as possible. It’s a good idea to get your living space to where you will be able to move around easily when you return home after your procedure. 

This means positioning your furniture so you won’t be running into it, possibly purchasing a plastic sheet product that’s designed to protect your surgical site when you bathe, and arranging for help from family and friends, such as meals, help with transportation when you can’t drive, and other types of temporary assistance. 

Finally, don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Dalal any questions you have prior to your surgery, because he’s happy to answer them. Tri-State Orthopaedics supports you before your bunion surgery and throughout your recovery.

Find out more about our bunion treatment options by scheduling a consultation at either our Germantown or Memphis office. Give us a call or make an appointment online.

Please know that we’re practicing advanced safety protocols to guard against COVID-19 when you visit, and we offer telemedicine visits as well.

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