A bunion is a painful protrusion that occurs on the joint at the base of your big toe when a structural imbalance causes the big toe to lean against the toe next to it. There are many different factors that cause bunions, from genetics to uncomfortable footwear, with a number of treatment options available. Oftentimes, bunion surgery is the best solution to remove the bunion entirely and restore your foot to its original shape, which can be done at your Atlanta podiatrist’s office.
At Ankle and Foot Centers of Georgia, we are proud to offer a variety of procedures for treating bunions, from shoe modifications and support devices, i.e., orthotics, to bunion surgery. We will determine the procedure that best suits your needs based on a multitude of factors, including your foot type, the severity of your bunion, as well as your age, weight, bone strength and the strain level of your daily activities.
Bunion surgery is an extensive procedure, taking place under IV sedation in an outpatient setting. In most cases, we will cut away the protruding bone, allowing it to shift back to its natural position. When the bone is deemed to be properly positioned, we will stabilize it with a non-permanent metal pin or screw, which can be removed in the future should it become a deterrent to your daily life.
Upon completion, a numbing agent will be administered to the affected area to ensure a pain-free trip home. Although the numb feeling may not pass until the next morning, we recommend that you begin taking pain medication in the evening after the surgery.
Because the procedure requires anesthesia, it is crucial that you do not eat or drink after midnight prior to your surgery. You must also have reliable transportation following the procedure, as it will be dangerous for you to drive.
Once the bunion surgery is complete, we will place a sterile dressing onto the affected foot. You must not make any modifications to the dressing until a post-surgery appointment with your podiatrist. Although your foot will be placed into a protective shoe, you must avoid walking until otherwise specified.
You will be instructed to wear supportive athletic shoes a few weeks following the surgery. We recommend decreasing the strain level of your activities to reduce pain and potential swelling. To ensure a smooth recovery process, we also recommend foot elevation, ice, and extensive rest.
Other Bunion Procedures
In the case of high-severity bunions, the surgery may require a more substantial cut to the toe bone or even a fusion of the affected bones. Such an instance may require you to wear a low leg cast for 6 to 8 weeks and walk with crutches to avoid placing weight on the foot. You will then be transferred to a walking boot and eventually to a regular shoe.
The entire recovery period typically spans 2 to 3 months. If you are unable to safely use crutches throughout the recovery process, we will supply a walker, wheelchair or personal scooter based on your individual needs.