What is a bunion?
It is an enlargement of bone at the big toe joint and/or misalignment of the big toe joint causing the toe to change angles. As the deformity progresses, the big toe turns in towards the second toe and can either rest over or under the second toe.
A bunion in itself is not inherited, but the type of foot causing the bunion is. Bunions occur when the big toe joint is stressed over a longer period of time (usually because of faulty biomechanics). Bunions are more prevalent in people with uncontrolled flat feet. Bunions are also common in women who wear narrow, pointed and confining shoes. These kinds of shoes aggravate the deformity further. Arthritis in the big toe joint may also be the cause of bunion deformities.
Treatment of the bunion depends on the severity of the bunion. Some pain caused by the bunions can be relieved by wearing proper fitting, non-constraining shoe gear. For the bunions caused by arthritis, anti-inflammatory medications might help with pain and swelling. If conservative treatment methods fail, your doctor will explore the surgical treatment options with you.
The type of procedure needed to resolve the bunion depends on several factors, including the severity of the bunion, the activity level of the patient, the age of the patient and any underlying conditions like diabetes, osteoporosis, etc. Depending upon the type of surgery performed, your doctor will advise you of the post-operative activity levels. In general, mild bunion repairs need a surgical shoe with limited ambulation. For severe bunion procedures, casting with no ambulation for 6-8 weeks may be required. Physical therapy or exercises at home may be recommended by your doctor to regain strength and range of motion.
If you are in need of bunion removal surgery, you should contact Ankle and Foot Specialist of New Jersey. Dr. Jyotsna Thapar will walk you through the procedure and what to expect before and after surgery. Give us a call at (908) 222-8980 or request an appointment with our South Plainfield office (right on the border with Edison) or Warren office at 732-356-FOOT(3668) today.