Bunion surgery

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

Indications for bunion surgery are:

•Foot pain that limits activities, and walking.
•A significant deformity of the toe with angulation of the big toe towards the small toes. This is called hallux valgus.
•The big toe joint is stiff and won't dorsiflex (does not bend up so it interferes with walking). This is called hallux rigidus.
•No relief with medication.
•Failure to respond to other conservative treatments such as changes in padding, exercises, footwear, etc.

The goal of surgery is to relieve pain and correct deformity.

Some of the procedures include:

•A simple bunionectomy. In this procedure, the lumpy part of bone is removed but there is no realignment of the joint
•A more involved procedure would tighten the loose tendons and ligaments around the big toe
•An osteotomy is when a wedge of bone is taken out of the big toe to 'straighten' the big toe. This requires screws and plates to hold the bones in place during healing.
•Joint fusion is reserved for when there is severe arthritis and other procedures have failed. In less severe cases, a plastic spacer in the joint may be used to replace the damaged joint.

Unrealistic expectations can be a cause of dissatisfaction with bunion surgery. Bunion surgery will help relieve pain and result in an improvement in alignment of the toe. Bunion surgery will not allow the patient to wear the latest Paris shoe designs and going back to that type of shoe will cause the bunion to return.

Complications of bunion surgery are: infection, a recurrence of the bunion, damage to the nerves, and continued long term pain.

Get more information about bunion surgery and related issues as well as...

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