A bunion is a common condition when the big toe leans toward the second toe, rather than pointing straight ahead. Thus causing the big toe to have an abnormal protrusion which looks as a bump. People with a flatfoot or over-pronated foot are prone to bunions. Family history is also an important factor of incidence. Inappropriate footwear may make the condition worse but they are not the cause of it. Bunions worsen with advancing age and can eventually cause pain and deformity.
Symptoms, which occur at the site of the bunion, may include:
Symptoms are most evident when wearing ill-fitting shoes especially around the toes or high heels. This is why women are more likely to have symptoms of bunions than men. In addition, spending long periods of time on your feet can aggravate the symptoms.
If left untreated, it can lead to painful swelling, cracked skin, overlapping second toe and eventually painful arthritis (wear & tear) and stiffness at the big toe joint. Sometimes, a patient’s walking pattern may also be affected as the weight on the foot is shifted to the outer side.
The bunions may not be bothering you. However, to fully evaluate the condition, it is advisable to consult a specialist to determine the degree of the deformity and to assess the predisposing cause for your bunion. If left neglected, it may cause more problems in the future.
Bunions can be managed without surgery with the aid of silicone toe spacers, night splints, footwear modification, toe stretching or some custom insoles to offload the painful joint. These external supports do not reverse the bunion shape but help to provide comfort to the feet and prevent any skin callosities from developing.
Surgery is usually done as a day surgery procedure. The procedures are mainly to remove the “bump” of bone, correct the toe shape, and most importantly to ensure the reduction of pain from the symptoms. The aims of the surgery are to restore foot shape, allow for excellent joint motion, immediate weight bearing and most importantly, have very low recurrence rate.
In selecting the procedure or combination of procedures for you, the foot and ankle specialist surgeon will take into consideration the extent of your deformity based on the findings, your age, your lifestyle, and other factors. The length of the recovery period will vary, depending on the procedure or procedures performed. There are minimally invasive deformity correction techniques to treat the bunion.
You can have immediate mobility after surgery with the aid of a soft sandal. Special foot bandaging is necessary to assist in holding the big toe in place, with the sandal to protect the toe whenever you walk. This is required for about 4-6 weeks.
Bunion surgery is a very safe procedure. General attention needs to be paid to wound healing, bone healing and swelling control. With cutting edge technologies nowadays, the recurrence rate is extremely low. Your surgeon will assess the risks and complications individually with you and customize the best treatment plan according to your condition, age and lifestyle amongst other factors.
|Hospital stay||1 night|
|Rest & elevation||10-14 days|
|Time off work|
|- Seated||3-4 weeks|
|- Standing||6-8 weeks|
|Foot swelling||12 weeks|
|- Sandals||< 6 weeks|
|- Sports shoes||6-12 weeks|
|- Normal||12 weeks|