Bunions, which are foot deformities of bone and soft tissue, appear as a large bump where the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint meets the foot. They can be highly painful and irritating for people who have them. Known scientifically as hallux valgus, a bunion makes the big toe point excessively towards the smaller toes. People with bunions frequently have foot pain and significant functional disability.
Why Do I Have a Bunion?
Three-quarters of bunion patients are females between the ages of 40-65. People with flat feet, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and flexible joints are also at risk. Most people who get bunions get them due to genetic reasons, so blame your family. They also occur frequently in women who wear tight or poorly-fitting shoes or high heels that compress the toes.
Bunions almost always cause either intermittent or persistent pain, and can even restrict the movement of the big toe if it is impacted by arthritis. Other conditions associated with bunions include:
- Swelling, redness, and pain around the big toe area that can appear shiny
- The big toe pointing in the direction of the smallest toe
- Pain around the ball of the foot
- Corns or calluses between the toes, or smaller bunionettes on the pinky toe joint.
Bunions can also lead to hammertoe, bursitis, metatarsalgia, and are considered permanent unless corrected through surgery.
After failing conservative treatment, bunion surgery becomes necessary. Surgical candidates include patients who:
- Can’t walk more than a few blocks without foot pain
- Unable to bend or straighten their toe
- Big toe is constantly red and painful (large enough to greatly limit shoe wear options)
Traditional bunion surgeries have included bunionectomy, osteotomy, exostectomy, and arthrodesis (fusion), but there is now a minimally invasive surgical option for the right patients.
Benefits of a Minimally Invasive Bunion Surgery
A minimally invasive surgery (MIS) can mean faster recovery, less pain, less swelling, and a quicker return to weight-bearing. Patients generally take less pain medication, a decreased risk of infection, less soft tissue disruption, and smaller scars.
Dr. Leroy Butler
Foot & Ankle
Frisco | Plano
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