A bunion is a type of deformity of the foot wherein the joint of the foot’s big toe is enlarged and is more frequently a result of inflammation. The foot’s biggest joint may swell and become painful from wearing poorly fitting shoes, typically those that are tight and narrow. Other causes could be extreme pressure applied to the toes. When the foot is disfigured, a painful lump appears that is sore to the touch, growing on the side of the inflamed joint. This lump is composed of bone as well as tissue. The foot’s big toe could also sidle towards the direction of the second toe because of this growth. This growth is what is referred to as a bunion.
The best method of removing a bunion and keeping it from further growth that would disfigure the foot is through a surgical procedure called bunionectomy. This procedure is something that is necessary for a person to be able to regain his mobility range as bunions can cause a lot of pain whether one is walking or running, or even when he is simply standing. Most people opt for a bunionectomy to get rid of bunions, and be able to get back to doing normal daily activities.
What Happens During Bunionectomy
A bunionectomy is more frequently carried out in an outpatient clinic or sometimes, in the doctor’s office. The surgery generally involves cutting out the whole bunion, as well as making a decision as to whether repositioning the bone is necessary to restore normal alignment. It starts off with applying local anesthesia or the use of the ankle block. The bunion is then taken out, and repairs are done on whatever bones or ligaments need to be worked on for the foot’s alignment to be restored. A bunionectomy is done before repairing bones should a patient be diagnosed to have substantial deformities on the bones of the big toe. There are a lot of situations wherein bunions develop to an extent that they cause damage to the foot’s bones and destroying the whole joint of the big toe and making it necessary to perform a joint replacement. Once the bunionectomy procedure is finished, the surgeon will then suture the area and apply sterile bandages over it. For quicker recovery, it is important to return after surgery as post-operative care is absolutely necessary.
Recovering from a Bunionectomy
The usual recovery from a bunionectomy is about 4-8 weeks, this for the simpler cases, and a year or so for the more complicated ones. Although a few patients are able to walk almost immediately following the bunionectomy procedure, other people may be advised to make use of crutches and avoid putting weight on the affected foot after surgery. It is normal that a patient will experience an amount of pain and swelling on the operated area. Anti-inflammatory medications are prescribed by the doctor to alleviate bunion pain and reduce swelling and redness. The affected foot must be supported without allowing it to bear weight or pressure, for proper healing. A cast or special shoes may be recommended as well. It is important that a patient visits his doctor constantly after the procedure so that the healing of the wound is assessed, as well as any surgical complications. Should effects such as high fever, extreme pain, chills, or pus coming from the area be experienced, it is vital to report them to the doctor. As in any procedure, making sure that the dressing is clean and dry must be ensured and not removed until the doctor recommends it.
Helpful Tips for Preventing and Curing Bunions
The basic rule in the prevention of bunions is ensuring that the feet are not abused. As much as possible, applying a lot of pressure on the toes must be avoided. The pain that a person experiences from bunions caused by arthritis can be relieved through pain medications prescribed by a doctor. There are other helpful tips that can be used to prevent painful bunions from developing or getting worse.
- Consult with a Podiatrist – A lot of people may already have bunions though they may not be experiencing discomfort yet. Actually, problems that concern the feet can be recognized at a very early age, and prevented from developing early on as well. Going to a podiatrist can help in finding out if there are any problems with the toes and the feet through a series of x-rays that are done. From here, the podiatrist is able to recommend ways that will prevent bunions from developing.
- Avoid wearing high heels – Stilettos can cause bunions, as well as other types of high heel shoes. Instead, it is much better to use footwear that have lower heels, preferably the wedge type or the ones with thicker heels. These types of shoes offer a lot more support. It is also a lot better to rounded toe pumps rather than those with pointed toes. The toes must be allowed to have the space to wiggle and not be constricted in any way.
- Wear comfortable shoes when commuting to work – Most people wear uncomfortable shoes even when they have to commute going to work and back. It is a good idea to wear a comfortable pair of sneakers instead and change to high heel shoes upon arriving at the work area. Heels are alright if work entails sitting behind a desk most of the time.
- Work on Proper exercises – Running, amazingly, is not a recommended exercise for the feet. For runners, it is recommended that one alternates days of running with low-impact exercises such as swimming, Pilates, Yoga, and speed walking. It is also important to wear comfortable shoes that are able to absorb whatever impact that the feet will need to take.
- Make use of bunion pads and ice packs – Should you already have bunions and would want to alleviate the pain caused by friction or pressure, wearing bunion pads before putting on the shoes can do a lot in relieving discomfort. Ice packs applied over the area at the end of the day is an effective method of reducing the inflammation.
Although a bunionectomy is still considered the best method of removing bunions, it is still a lot better if people took necessary steps to avoid undergoing the procedure altogether. By practicing good habits with regards to the care of the feet, the problem of bunions need not be experienced, nor the surgery required to get rid of them.