Should You have Surgery for Your Bunions?

Bunions form when the joint at the big toe turns outward and your big toe subsequently leans inward toward your other toes. You might develop bunions due to arthritis, injury, neuromuscular conditions, genetics, or a poor choice in footwear – such as high heels and pointy-toed shoes.

Regardless of why you have a bunion, you know it causes pain, foot deformity, and dysfunction. While many people can get relief with strategies that ease the pressure on the big toe, your bunion may be past these conservative treatments.

At Wiregrass Podiatry, with offices in Enterprise and Dothan, Alabama, podiatrists Jennifer Decker, DPM, and Lincoln V. Lowe, DPM, provide surgery to bring your big toe back to its correct position. Is your bunion at the point that you need surgery? Read on for some reasons you might want to consider that a viable option. If you have any doubts, schedule a consultation with our doctors to have your bunion evaluated and treated.

Conservative treatments are ineffective

Conservative treatments for bunions include wearing wider shoes or using special gel or moleskin pads or customized inserts in your shoes. Dr. Decker and Dr. Lowe recommend you choose athletic shoes, sandals, or soft leather shoes. High heels that lift your feet higher than an inch will only aggravate bunions.

Mild bunion pain can also be remedied with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warm soaks, and ice packs. In more advanced cases, our doctors may even recommend steroid injections to ease inflammation and reduce pain.

When these treatments fail, however, you may opt for a surgical procedure to correct your big toe joint.

You have significant pain

If you have foot pain that limits or even halts your daily activities – such as walking or wearing appropriate shoes – consider bunion surgery. You may not be able to walk more than a few blocks even when wearing the most comfortable athletic shoes.

Toe stiffness that makes it nearly impossible to bend and straighten the big toe is another indication that you may need surgery.

Inflammation and deformity

A bunion that causes chronic inflammation and swelling in your big toe may also be a candidate for surgery, especially if over-the-counter medications or steroid injections fail to help you find relief.

Bunions also deform the big toe, resulting in a large bump on the side of your foot and even causing the toes to cross over each other.

 When you shouldn’t have surgery

Bunions often do get worse with time, but surgery isn’t encouraged as a preventive treatment. Conservative interventions, such as shoe changes and over-the-counter pain medications, can slow your bunions progression and prevent you from ever having to go in for surgery. It’s only when these strategies fail that you may consider surgery.

Bunion surgery isn’t a cosmetic procedure either. Surgery does restore a more normal look to your foot, but it’s only warranted as a true correction of misaligned bones, ligaments, tendons, and nerves – not just to help you look better in your sandals.

If you have a bunion, it’s best to have it checked out by the experts at Wiregrass Podiatry. We offer all podiatric support to men and women in Alabama at our Dothan and Enterprise offices. Call today or book online to have your bunion evaluated and get management or surgical treatment advice.

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