What is a bunion?

A bunion is a bump on the side of the big toe joint. The bump is actually a bone (the first metatarsal) sticking out because it is crooked. This deformity is usually inherited, meaning it is in your genes. You can develop a bunion when you are a teenager, but it is much more common to develop it as an adult. The bone continues to shift out so the bunion appears to get bigger and bigger. A lot of people think that high heels or bad shoes can cause bunions–however, this is not exactly true. Shoes that have a small toe box squeeze the bone more which can aggravate it, cause inflammation, and in turn, makes the bunion swell up.

If you have a bunion, it doesn’t mean that you necessarily need any treatment for it. If it is not painful, we simply leave it alone. If it starts to become painful, cause numbness, or prevents you from wearing certain shoes we may discuss treating it. Treatment options include immobilization, NSAIDs, orthotics, cortisone injections, and possibly even surgery. The only way to get rid of the bunion is with surgery, however, we only ever recommend that as a last resort.

Bunion surgery involves removing the bump and then also correcting the underlying deformity which is the crooked bone. Usually, the crooked bone will be straightened out and held straight with plates or screws. The overall recovery time after bunion surgery ranges from 6-8 weeks. Most patients are surprised at how little pain they have after surgery. There is a small percentage of patients that have moderate to severe pain following bunion surgery, however I find that these patients are typically those who are up on their feet overdoing it. You really need to take it easy and rest with the foot up. Of course if you have any concern after surgery, call your surgeon immediately. I provide my personal cell phone number to all of my post op patients so they have direct access to call me any time-day or night.

If you have any more questions about bunions, feel free to make an appointment at the office for a free consult 201-261-9445.

Clifton Ringwood