By Foot and Ankle Specialists of Marin, Mar 3 2016 12:57AM
What is a bunion?
A bunion forms when the great toe (or hallux) begins to drift towards the lesser toes and the the bone behind it (called the 1st metatarsal) begins to drift in the opposite direction, creating a boney “bump”. This bump rubs in shoes and makes narrower shoes very uncomfortable.
Why do bunions form?
Bunions can occur for many reasons. Typically, shoe gear, biomechanics and foot structure are the cause of bunions. At Foot and Ankle Specialists of Marin, we are often asked if bunions are “genetic”. While there is not a gene specific to bunions, it is common to see bunions “run in the family”. That is to say, since we are all more or less shaped like our parents, our feet are no exception.
How do I avoid bunion surgery?
Wearing wider shoes, custom or over-the-counter pads and orthoses can provide temporary relief of bunion pain. Some patients find pain relief with these measures for an extended period of time, while others do not. Unfortunately, even with specialized padding and bracing, bunions worsen with time. We do not recommend surgery until discomfort begins to affect your daily activities and decision-making.
What does bunion surgery involve?
Surgical correction of a bunion involves removing the boney “bump” and redirecting the bone and soft tissue of the hallux and 1st metatarsal. There are many ways to do this and your surgeon will select a bunion procedure based on your bunion type.
What is recovery like?
In Marin and Southern Sonoma County, where so many of our patients are active and do not want to be away from activities for an extended period of time, the recovery period is often a concern. Post-operative activity level depends on the bunion procedure appropriate for your bunion type. Most patients are what we call “partial weight bearing” immediately after surgery. This means you can put weight on the heel, but cannot “push off” of the front of the foot. This usually lasts for 2-3 weeks. Some bunion procedures require a longer period of partial weight bearing or even non weight bearing and this depends on the severity of your bunion.
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