The average adult will take about 7,500 steps a day. Over the course of a lifetime, that’s 4 trips around the globe! In a perfect world we would imagine each of those steps being virtually pain free. However, the presence of bone deformities on either the big or small toe, called bunions, can significantly disrupt daily activities such as standing or walking, making those 7,500 steps unnecessarily painful.
A bunion is a structural problem that occurs when the joint of your big toe is stressed over a prolonged period of time. Primarily found in women, they may also be inherited or develop as a result of arthritis. Don’t wait until your bunion interferes with your lifestyle before seeking medical treatment. They may start as a minor issue and progress into a severe foot deformity.
How do I know if I need surgery?
The goal of surgery is to relieve the unnecessary pain and discomfort you’re feeling by realigning the natural position of your toe. Bunions that need surgical correction cause activity restrictions that coincide with chronic pain and inflammation of your joint. The presence of this pain is abnormal and reason enough to seek treatment. Treatment should also be sought when your bunion affects your ability to wear reasonable footwear, if your big toe has begun to overlap neighboring toes, or if you are unable to bend and straighten your big toe. After consulting your doctor, they may recommend surgery for other reasons.
Are there different procedures to correct bunions?
The answer is yes! The type of surgery you may need is defined by the size and severity of your bunion. Your doctor will also factor in additional information such as age, overall health, level of activeness, and the state of the bones and tissues connected to the bunion. Surgical procedures range from mild to severe. In the case of a mild bunion, your surgeon may simply loosen the tissues that are causing your toe to drift inward. In more severe cases, with arthritic bunion, your joint may need to be reconstructed or even replaced with an artificial joint.
What can I expect?
Bunion surgery, for the vast majority, results in a dramatic reduction of foot pain and inflammation as well as significant improvement in the appearance of your joint. Most bunion surgeries are outpatient and require you to set aside a full day. Be sure to arrange for another person to drive you from the appointment and clear your schedule for the next two to three weeks.
The success of your surgery is also determined by your actions after it is completed. Upon leaving the office, your doctor will give you instructions to follow at home for the next several weeks. It is important to keep your foot dry and undisturbed as interference may hinder the healing process. You may be given crutches or a cane and advised to only walk short distances during the first few weeks of recovery. Some exercises or physical therapy may also be necessary to restore your foot’s strength and range of motion. If all goes well, you can expect to be driving again within a week and on your feet entirely after five.
Although not likely, recurrence of your bunion is possible. Life after surgery should still entail preventative care such as wearing proper shoes. Tight footwear is one of the main contributing factors of bunion development. Also be sure to continue with foot strengthening exercises, as they counteract any muscular imbalances.
Don’t let your life be dictated by your bunion. If you are suffering from bunions, you canrequest an appointment on our website with Dr. Gerald Mauriello, or call one of our offices, located in Belvidere and Hackettstown, New Jersey, at 908-475-8750. We’re dedicated to your comfort and helping you maintain healthy feet.