Is Bunion Surgery Right for You?

Published: 12th June 2009
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Bunion surgery is an outpatient surgery that only takes 1 hour to complete under local anesthesia but can take weeks to mend. Most podiatrists estimate that people who undergo bunion surgery will need to stay off their feet for the next 3 to 6 weeks. This doesn't mean you'll be bed ridden! Rather, you should avoid any activity that requires you to walk, run, or stand for long periods of time.

This can be particularly difficult for people with jobs that require them to be on their feet all day (hairdressers, lawyers, teachers, etc.). Most people who are recovering from bunion surgery will use crutches or some kind of walker for the first couple of weeks, and may also require special orthopedic shoes (your podiatrist will usually provide them for you if you need them). Because of the long recovering time necessary for bunion surgery, many people with bunions, or with the big toe deformity hallux valgus, put off the surgery.

If you are wondering whether bunion surgery is right for you, ask yourself the following questions. Do your bunions cause you foot pain on a regular basis? Do they make it difficult for you to engage in normal physical activity? Do you experience foot pain even when performing a task as simple as going to the grocery store or walking around the block? This pain should occur even when you are wearing athletic or orthopedic shoes. Foot pain that's caused by stuffing your feet into pointy-toed high heels may not be a sign that you need bunion surgery, just a sign that you should throw out your ill-fitting high heels!

Do you exhibit the hallux valgus deformity? This deformity, which is linked to the same underlying structural weakness that results in the bunion, occurs when the big toe drifts in the direction of the baby toe. Your big toe can angle toward the baby toe to such an extent that the second toe sits on top of the big toe's nail. The hallux valgus deformity will make it difficult to find shoes that fit and will cause you additional foot pain. When undergoing bunion surgery, the podiatrist can help straighten this toe out and put a pin in your foot that holds the big toe in the corrected position.

Do you suffer from chronic big toe inflammation? Is the swelling in your feet unresponsive to oral medications?

Have other over-the-counter treatments (anti-inflammatory medications and orthotics) failed to improve your bunions?

People who answer yes to the above questions may be good candidates for bunion surgery. Talk to your podiatrist for more information. Remember, bunion surgery is a surgery undertaken to reduce foot pain. If you are hoping to have the surgery so that you can fit into your high heels again, then the surgery is not for you. Ill-fitting shoes are largely what got you into this situation in the first place!

Jane Barron works for,a free online website that helps people find mismatched footwear.If you are looking for different sized shoes, or information useful to polio survivors, people with diabetes foot problems, and people with foot size differences, visit:

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