Bunion - Frequently Asked Questions
This section will attempt to answer the most common questions, and misconceptions, about treating bunions. Please, keep in mind that no two people and no two bunions are completely alike. For a personal evaluation of your bunion, please CLICK HERE TO REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT.
When Do I Need Seek Treatment For Bunions?
This is the most commonly asked question among patients with a bunion deformity. Luckily, there is a simple answer... Only if the bunion causes pain! If you do not have any pain associated with your bunion, you have to consider that treatment, whether conservative or surgical, may cause some level of discomfort, which would be more than what you had to begin with. If you only have pain with wearing certain shoes, you may need to consider other shoe options. If your pain is consistent, and you are limited from your activities or desired lifestyle, then treatment is recommended before the conditions worsens.
Can Bunions Be Prevented?
No. Although some people may try orthotics or splint devices, there is no evidence that supports any treatment claiming to prevent bunions.
Can I Still Wear Dress Shoes Or High Heels If I Have A Bunion?
It depends on your level of pain. If you only have pain with wearing certain shoes, you may have to limit the kind of shoes you wear on a regular basis. If you have a nice pair of shoes you only wear to special events, it is OK for there to be some level of discomfort, as long as it goes away shortly after wearing the shoes.
Will My Bunion Pain Get Better With Time?
You may get temporary relief with conservative treatments, but generally speaking, your pain will not improve with time. In most cases, bunion pain actually gets worse with time.
Why Do Bunions Cause So Much Pain?
As the deformity progresses, the bump on the inside of your foot becomes more prominent. There is a nerve (medial dorsal cutaneous nerve) that travels directly over the bump at the great toe joint. So not only do you have pain from the shoe pressing on the bone, but there is direct pressure on the nerve! Imagine having someone hit your funny bone, on your elbow, on a regular daily basis.
Why Is Reconstructive Surgery Necessary? Can't You Just Shave The Bump?
Historically, many surgeons would just "shave the bump" with a surgical saw, without realigning the great toe joint. The problem with this method is the recurrence rate is significantly higher, so there is a greater chance your bunion pain could come back. By utilizing reconstructive surgery, the deformity can be corrected, while properly aligning the great toe joint. This allows for a more predictable and longer lasting outcome.
Can Bunions Be Treated With Orthotics?
No. Orthotics may change the position of the foot, which may temporarily relieve pain. However, orthotics will not correct a bunion.
What Is The Recovery Time For Bunion Surgery
In most cases, patients are back into their tennis shoes 4-5 weeks after surgery. Also, patients are generally starting back into exercise 6-8 weeks after bunion surgery.
What can I expect after bunion surgery?
Knowing what to expect after bunion surgery helps you prepare and eases your mind. You will have stitches and your foot will be wrapped to help protect the area and keep your toe in proper position. Take care to keep your stitches and dressing dry. When you are bathing, keep your foot away from the water or cover it with a plastic bag. This period can last 1 - 3 weeks until it’s determined that stitches can be removed.
Elevating your foot as much as possible helps minimize swelling, and you must not put weight on the foot. You might have to wear a walking boot, cast, or splint to help with this, and a brace to keep your toe in alignment. The severity of your bunion, the type of procedure you’ve had, and how well the healing process is going will determine when you can wear normal shoes again. (Hint: follow after care instructions closely and don’t try to do too much too soon!)
Medication can help with inflammation and pain, and eventual physical therapy will help to restore mobility and function.
For more information, we welcome you to call (512) 593-2949 and our friendly staff will be happy to assist you.
How can I ease bunion pain?
When the bony bump on your big toe is causing discomfort, not to worry – there are several things you can do to ease bunion pain. Ice and anti-inflammatory medication are both helpful, in addition to stretches -- like pulling your big toe into proper alignment and holding it there for a count of ten. Toe spacers and night splints that hold your toe in place can do wonders to reduce painful symptoms, as well as slow the progression of your protruding bone. Making sure your shoes have plenty of wiggle room for your toes and using orthotic inserts to take pressure away from the joint can go a long way toward alleviating pain, too. Finally, you can use pads to protect and cushion the area, or try a soothing foot soak at day’s end.
If these conservative methods are not enough to ease bunion pain, call us to discuss other options, including surgical intervention. You can reach our Cedar Park or Round Rock, TX office by calling (512) 593-2949, or by using our online contact form.