Bunionectomy helps many podiatric patients walk normally again and live without the pain and soreness this foot deformity causes. To prepare you for bunion surgery, here’s a primer on bunionectomy to help you understand the procedure and how to prepare for your recovery at home.
The Symptoms and Causes of Bunions
One out every three American adults experience some degree of discomfort caused by bunions. A bunion, or hallux valgus, is a bony prominence at the base of the big toe. For many people, bunions are barely noticeable, but for others, they cause:
- Foot deformity as the big toe turns inward toward the second and even third toe
- Joint stiffness and difficulty with walking
- Friction against the inside of shoes
Caused by heredity, age, poorly fitting shoes and arthritis, bunions require expert evaluation and treatment plans geared to slow their progression and relieve their symptoms.
Bunion Evaluation by Your Foot and Ankle Specialist
Your podiatrist can assess your bunion by visual inspection and X-ray imaging. You will be asked about your medical history, medications, symptoms and what, if anything, manages them. If your symptoms are severe and impact your activities of daily living and ability to work, you may need bunion surgery.
Bunion surgeries are customized to individual need and realistic therapeutic outcomes. In general, there are three kinds of bunionectomies you should know about:
- Exostectomy, a surgical shaving and reduction of the bony bump
- Osteotomy, removal of the bunion and installation of stabilizing hardware, such as screws
- Arthrodesis, in which the surgeon removes the arthritic toe joint and stabilizes the toe with hardware
Preparing for Bunion Surgery
Any bunion surgery involves some days to weeks of recovery. To facilitate your period of rest and recuperation, be sure to take an appropriate amount of time off from work.
If you have a desk job, you may need only a few days away; however, if you are on your feet and do heavy lifting, you must take more sick days. Ask your employer about work from home options. Your podiatrist can advise you about when you can return to work in person.
Additionally, be sure you have a responsible adult with you the day of your surgery as you may be sedated for your procedure. Also, line up household helpers to assist you with meals, errands and laundry as you recover.
Finally, prepare your home ahead of time. You may have a cast, cast cover or bandaging on your operated foot and may be using a cane or crutches depending on the type of procedure you have. Avoid stairs as much as possible and put your cell phone, laptop, over-the-counter pain meds, water bottle, glasses and other essentials within reach of your favorite recliner. Use that recliner or your couch to elevate your operated foot on pillows to reduce swelling.
And remember, your podiatric team is ready to assist you through your recovery. Contact us with any questions or concerns and keep follow-up appointments and any physical therapy sessions you may have.
Bunion Surgery in Rhode Island and Massachusetts
At Foot & Ankle Institute, we understand that bunion surgery seems intimidating. But, with the expert knowledge and skill our board-certified foot and ankle doctors deliver through every treatment plan, you are assured of the right procedure, optimized comfort and excellent results.
If you have questions about how to prepare for your procedure, contact us. We are here to help. Remember that we have three locations: Warwick and MIddletown, RI, and Fall River, MA. Or, request a visit online.