Bunion removal is the elimination of the bony lump that forms at the side of the feet. What happens is that the soft tissues and the bones move unnaturally out of the foot symmetry. That causes the change along the top joints of the feet.
A bunion is most commonly formed because of the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe. However, a small bunion along the short toe is not unheard of. Bunions are also called Hallux Valgus. The big toe pushes excessively along the little toe that changes the anatomy forever.
To adjust to the movement, the joint juts out and causes a lump formation. People who have bunions are lucky because several successful surgical methods are advanced and in everyday use.
Bunion removal is also called Hallux Valgus removal, Bunion surgery, or Bunionectomy. You cannot overlook the importance of bunionectomy because it may be the last resort but is practical and relieves bunions pain progression.
Why should you opt for Bunion surgery?
Like I mentioned before, Bunions are the last choice. Before you make the big decision, a visit to your orthopedic is a must. If you have exhausted all the natural methods and home remedies for bunion removal, surgery is a better option.
Doctors usually scan your feet through X rays to detect the angle of the bunion. If the angle is too broad, then the natural ways will not be sufficient, primarily if the results have spread to the second and third toe. Hereditary bunions are also resistant to home remedies.
X rays give a clear indication to the doctors about the type and intensity of your bunion. They also provide a clear signal about the type of surgery best suited.
I have mentioned the reasons that give a good indication of why surgery is a practical and functional option:
- There is severe pain within a few steps of walking.
- Your big toe is swollen.
- The toe is overlying the second toe.
- There is an increase in swelling over the lump.
- Formation of blisters and calluses.
- Home remedies do not work anymore.
Preparation for the Bunionectomy:
Before you head forth for any surgery, there are standard precautions and tests recommended for all patients.
Diabetic patients and heart patients have to stop or temper their medication dose. You have to stop taking hemophilia medication because they can interfere with recovery.
Your doctor will mention particular blood tests that you have to take as a precaution. The tests are performed to detect underlying medical conditions and body immunity to hypersensitive reactions.
After the surgery, you may have followed up days at the hospital. Bunionectomy does not require the patient to stay at the hospital, usually. However, the cast and the food following surgery is monitored and restricted.
Following tests are performed:
- Urine and blood tests.
- Hypersensitivity tests.
- Hypertension tests related to the heart.
During the surgery, anesthesia is significantly less likely given. Local anesthesia for the ankle is injected for a smooth procedure. You may not feel anything below the ankle, but you are wide awake.
The most common types of surgeries are:
- Arthrodesis: In this type of surgery, metal plates are inserted along the joins to heal and gain natural shape.
- Exostectomy: In this surgery, without aligning the ligaments, the joint is removed and adjusted correctly.
- Osteotomy: It functions on the bones, mainly cutting or shaving bone to reduce the angle. The shaved part then grows naturally.
The type of surgical procedures also depends on the intensity of the deformity like:
For a severe bunion, bone tempering is done. The enlarged part of the bone is cut. The metatarsalgia joint is disconnected and realigned. Then the tendons and ligaments are smoothened and joined for regaining the normal anatomy. After the surgery, you should not walk for days. The cast is placed around the whole front of the feet. The recovery time is also longer, which can last weeks.
For moderate bunions, bone cutting is optional. Mainly the joint is disconnected and then connected with the decreased angle to the next toe. The tendons are reconnected, especially on the lateral part of the feet. It has comparatively a fast recovery time.
In this part, the natural mechanism has a more significant role to play. The joint is not shifted much. Instead, more attention is poured on the surrounding ligaments and muscles. After they are aligned, they work to bring the bunion back to shape. It has the longest time for action but not much alteration to recover from.
It does not stop there, as there are worse conditions that are beyond the power of recovery. Arthritis patients cannot rely on bone healing. In that case, you have to give additional aid to the big toe by installing implants during surgery. The implants speed up the process and take more than help from the natural healing process away.
Recovery from surgery:
Immediately after the surgery, the foot is wrapped, and a cast is applied. It makes sure the bone grows in the right shape and angle. The importance of cast should not be overlooked.
On average human bones need six to seven weeks to grow. After bunionectomy, the cast remains for four to five months until complete healing is done.
Even after the removal of the cast, you need external support like clutches. The work here is not done as physical therapy, and aftercare measures should be taken seriously.
It would help if you did not keep much pressure on the toe and joint. Gradually you will be able to walk and apply full body pressure. Make sure the stitches stay in place and are disinfected regularly.
On the brighter side, there are fewer to negligible chances of any problems or adverse effects. The surgery is highly successful. Make sure you research your pediatricians and doctors before you sign up!
+ 4 Sources:
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- Bunions -Mayo clinic.
- Bunions removal –William Morrison (2019)
- Startsat60 (2016)