HOW ARE BUNIONS TREATED?
If your bunion doesn’t hurt all the time and you catch it early, you may just need to change to well-made shoes that fit you right. Some doctors advise bunion pads, splints, or other shoe inserts, as long as they don’t put pressure elsewhere on your foot and worsen other problems.
In some cases, an orthotic specialist can prescribe shoes with specially designed insoles and uppers that take the pressure off affected joints and help the foot regain its proper shape.
Some bunions may need surgery, but only if the symptoms are severe. You shouldn’t get surgery just because you don’t like the way the bunion makes your foot look, because the risks can outweigh the benefits. You’ll want to talk with your doctor about what you can expect, and what the recovery will be like. The surgery is called bunionectomy. You may get it done in a hospital or a surgery center.
Shifting soft tissue
To realign the affected joint, any tight tendons on the inside of the toe are leased (cut). New bone that makes up the bunion is shaved away.
The most common bunion surgery reduces the angle between the first and second toes. Bones in the big toe joint are realigned and the bunion is shaved away. Ligaments and tendons around the joint may be tightened to hold it properly in place
If a structural bunion is severe, a piece of bone is removed from the first metatarsal (the long bone behind the big toe joint). Once repositioned, this bone may be held in place with a pin or a screw. Any new bone that makes up a bunion is shaved away.
Bunion removal must be performed by an experienced foot doctor to avoid complications. Although they may develop on the fifth (little) toe, bunions usually occur at the base of the big toe. Bunions are often caused by incorrect foot mechanics. The foot may flatten too much, forcing the toe joint to move beyond the normal range. In some cases, joint damage caused by arthritis or an injury produces a bunion. And some people are born with a tendency to develop bunions. If you’re at risk for developing a bunion, wearing high- heeled or poorly fitting shoes makes the problem worse.