Having a bunion can be uncomfortable, painful, and unsightly. If you develop bunions on your feet, you might feel self-conscious when the time comes to take off your shoes in front of other people. Even wearing sandals can seem a bit embarrassing! This can be quite a bummer, especially during the warmer months. So, is it possible to correct a bunion? Well, yes. But you might need to get bunion surgery in order to do so.
In many cases, bunions can be managed conservatively, without bunion surgery; however, there are many reasons why some patients choose to undergo a surgical procedure in order to fix their bunions. The most common reasons to get bunion surgery include bunions that cause severe pain, inability to walk, make it difficult to fit into shoes, and bunions that don’t respond to conservative treatments.
There are dozens of surgical techniques used in bunion surgery, and your doctor will choose the best option for you based on your symptoms and the characteristics of your case. Some of the most common types of bunion surgery include:
- The Austin Bunionectomy: also known as Chevron procedure or long arm osteotomy, this is one the most performed types of bunion-surgery. It involves making a small, V-shaped cut in the head of the big toe. This allows the head of the metatarsal bone to be slid laterally, which eliminates the bone spur while reducing the deformity caused by the bunion.
- The Keller Bunionectomy: during this procedure, a portion of the base of the bone and cartilage of the big toe are removed. This type of bunion surgery is used more often on patients with severe arthritis, or on seniors with limited mobility.
- The Silver Bunionectomy: this type of bunion surgery involves the removal of the bone spur caused by the bunion. A more complex variant of this procedure is the McBride bunionectomy, during which a small tendon is transferred from the base of the big toe to the first metatarsal bone. This aims to correct the deformity of the toe in order to improve the alignment of the foot.
Most types of bunion surgery are simple procedures that allow for an easy recovery period. For the first few weeks after your surgery, you will need to wear a cast or walking boot in order to support your foot. You will need to use crutches or a wheelchair to keep the weight off your foot, and a physiotherapist can teach your exercises that will help your strengthen your feet and lower legs. Full recovery after bunion surgery can take anywhere from four to six months.