Bunion correction includes a variety of surgical and non-surgical treatments. Initial treatment of bunions may include wearing comfortable, well-fitting footwear (particularly shoes that conform to the shape of the foot and do not cause pressure areas) or the use of splints and orthotics (special shoe inserts shaped to the feet) to reposition the big toe. For bunions caused by arthritis, medications may help reduce pain and swelling.
If non-surgical treatment fails, your physician may suggest surgery, which resolves the problem in nearly all persons. The goal of surgery is to relieve pain and correct as much deformity as possible. The surgery is not cosmetic and is not meant to improve the appearance of the foot.
Other related procedures that may be used to help diagnose foot disorders include x-rays of the bone and foot. Please see these procedures for additional information.
Different types of bunion surgery:
The type of surgical procedure performed depends upon the severity of the bunion, the individual’s age, general health, activity level, and the condition of the bones and connective tissue. Other factors may influence the choice of a procedure used.
- mild bunion - For this type of surgery, the surgeon may remove the enlarged portion of bone and realign the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the joint.
- moderate bunion - For a moderate bunion, the surgeon may cut the bone and shift it to its proper position. Whether or not the bone is cut depends on the severity and location of the deformity. In addition, the surrounding tendons and ligaments may need to be repositioned.
- severe bunion - For a severe bunion, surgery may involve removing the enlarged portion of the bone, cutting and realigning the bone, and correcting the position of the tendons and ligaments.
- arthritic bunion or big toe joint - If the joint is damaged beyond repair, as is commonly seen in arthritis, it may need to be reconstructed or replaced with an artificial joint. Joint replacement implants may be used in the reconstruction of the big toe joint.