A bunion (hallux valgus) occurs when the prominent bone located on the knuckle of your big toe becomes inflamed; they tend to be more common in women and can be inherited. Sufferers will have discomfort in the big toe due to the swelling; and will find it difficult to wear shoes.
There are non-surgical options that can help reduce the pain, but they won’t prevent bunions from increasing in severity, the most effective method is surgery.
Before the procedure your GP will help you to prepare and answer any question you may have. It is highly recommended that smokers stop during the recovery period; smoking can increase the possibility of wound infection and can slow down the healing process.
The surgery can be performed under general and local anaesthetic; if you are worried about the pain you can be given a sedative with the local anaesthetic to help you relax. During the surgery, to maintain healthy circulation you may be required to wear a compression stocking on the leg that is not being treated. The removal process should not take longer than an hour; this obviously can vary from person to person.
Keyhole surgery is performed to remove the bunion; the surgeon will make a small incision on the inner side of the foot, over the big toe joint. He then removes and reposition bones, ligaments and tendons; wires will be inserted to hold the bones in place. Depending on the material, the wires will either dissolve over time or they will have to be taken out manually.
Patients are normally out on the same day of the surgery; the effects of the anaesthetic need to wear off before going home, pain relief may be required to prevent any discomfort. To protect the foot during recovering it will either be bandaged up or put inside a plaster cast.
After surgery you should refrain from drinking alcohol, signing important documents or operating machinery for at least 48 hours. This is because general anaesthetic can affect co-ordination and tolerance levels.
After orthopaedic surgery in Milton Keynes, Derby, London and throughout the UK, it can take up to eight weeks for your foot to totally heal; the post-operative shoe will help you to walk but you will need to use crutches for the first couple of weeks. It is imperative to keep the bandaging dry and make sure that a protective shoe is worn when outside; when sat down elevate the foot to help reduce the swelling.