Many people suffer from bunions, which are large nodules on the inside of the foot at the base of the big toe. Bunion surgery isn’t for everyone, as other treatment methods are usually successful at eliminating the bunions. In the more severe cases, however, bunion surgery may be the best option.
A bunionectomy is the most common surgical procedure. It involves removing swollen tissue from the joint where the big toe meets the foot, removing part of the bone to straighten the big toe, and permanently joining the bones of the big toe joint. It may also involve shaving off the bump or repairing tissue in the joint.
In some instances, metal screws, wires, or plates may be used to hold the joint together, especially if bone has been removed.
Most bunion surgeries are performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. Some surgeries can require general anesthesia if it is less stressful for the patient or if the surgery is more complex.
Recovery depends on the complexity of the bunion surgery. Those who have minor procedures may be able to walk on the foot immediately. Others may need crutches or a cane and may be off the foot for several weeks.
Patients will need to keep their dressing clean and will need to use orthotics and properly fitted shoes after surgery to keep the foot stable and positioned correctly. Going back to narrow shoes can cause the bunion to return.