Help, I have a bunion!

What is a bunion? A bunion is a bony prominence near the big toe. Interestingly, the word “bunion” originally comes from the 18th century French word for a “bump on the head.”  The bunion is typically due to a muscular imbalance, bony abnormality or other arthritic conditions. 

The good news about bunions is that they ARE treatable, using conservative or surgical options. The unfortunate new about bunions is that they typically progress as time goes on. Some bunions can remain mild for several years, and some bunions can become rather large quickly.

Do shoes cause bunions?

There has been no evidence that improperly fitting shoes or poor shoe choice can cause a bunion. There has been a genetic correlation to developing bunions.

Can a bunion splint fix this issue?

Simply, no. The bunion is a bony abnormality and a splint to hold the big toe straight will not correct a bunion. A splint, however may slow the progression of a bunion’s development.

Is surgery the only treatment for a bunion?

Many people do ultimately elect to have a bunion corrected surgically, but this is not the only treatment.  Orthotics or shoe inserts have been used successfully to slow down a bunion’s progression as well as alleviate some discomfort. There are different types of pads to prevent irritation of the bump or rubbing on the other toes. Different shoe gear selection or wider shoes can help the discomfort as well.

If surgery is the right option for you, be assured that the sometimes scary misconception of a surgeon “breaking the bone” to correct a bunion is not accurate. Instead, many times the surgeon makes a cut in the bone in a controlled manner to help realign and shave down the bump.

Can my bunion grow back?

A bunion can come back following surgery. However, this is very rare when addressed properly.

What is the recovery like after bunion surgery?

There are many ways to treat a bunion surgically and every surgeon has different ways of managing this.  In most instances the surgery is a day surgery, with no overnight stay. You should expect a period of time with little to no weight on the foot and the use of crutches, a knee scooter, a walker, or a wheelchair. The patient is typically able to get back into regular shoes within a few weeks.




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