Many people are quick to associate “bunion treatment” with “bunion surgery.” Whereas there are certainly cases wherein a bunion needs to be treated with surgery, this isn’t always the case. With that in mind, it can help to know when surgical intervention is the right course of treatment for a bunion.
Now, surgery is always a serious consideration – for both a patient and doctor. When we determine whether or not to recommend these kinds of procedures, there are several factors that need to be considered. As a patient, there are factors you will also need to consider when deciding if this type of treatment is right for you.
On our end, some of the factors we take into consideration when determining whether or not to recommend bunion surgery include:
- Level of pain. If the condition is causing severe pain, surgical correction may be the best course of treatment to resolve the problem and provide relief. In these cases, there is a strong chance we will recommend surgery.
- Foot function. In addition to pain, another important consideration is whether or not the bunion is allowing your foot to function in a reasonably normal manner. If your usual foot function is impaired, bunion surgery might be the best path forward.
- Condition progression. Bunions are progressive conditions – they worsen when left untreated and cannot be reversed without surgical intervention. This means we may, depending on your specific case, recommend surgery to keep the bunion from worsening and causing greater levels of pain and foot dysfunction.
- Age. People often think about bunions as only developing in adult female feet. Whereas women are most likely to develop a bunion, this condition is also experienced by men and kids. In the case of a juvenile bunion, we will generally hold off on surgery until the foot has reached physical maturity.
- Efficacy of conservative care. Of course, if we are able to relieve symptoms and halt progression without needing to use surgery, we will. This depends entirely upon the specific case.
When surgery is our recommended treatment, we might need to remove swollen tissue, realign wayward bones, or permanently connect (fuse) bones in the affected joint. There are a variety of procedures, and they can either be used on their own or in conjunction with other procedures.
In the event we can forgo surgery as an option, we will typically address the problem with conservative care measures, such as changes in footwear, padded shoe inserts, splints, taping, orthotic devices, or even medication and icing regimens to relieve painful symptoms.
No matter if you’ll benefit from either conservative or surgical care, it is important to come see us here at Sunshein Podiatry and have your bunion evaluated and treated. We will work to determine why it has developed—often, it can be attributed to abnormal biomechanical processes or irregularities in foot structure—and then create a treatment plan.
For more information, or to request an appointment with our Centerville office, call (937) 435-7477.