Bunion surgeries have been performed since the 19th century, but the approaches and techniques for the surgical removal of bunions have changed drastically since the procedure was first performed. In fact, there are over 100 procedures that have been developed to correct bunions since then. With the continuing evolution of in surgical bunion treatment, there’s bound to be some confusion and misinformation about the latest methods for removing bunions. Here, we offer the straight facts for some of the popular myths about bunion surgery.
Myth: Bunion surgery is extremely painful
Fact: Bunion surgery isn’t any more painful than other types of surgeries. Foot surgery may tend to result in more postoperative pain than other types of surgery because blood can rush to the area, causing a throbbing feeling. Also, since there isn’t much tissue surrounding the bones of the foot, postoperative swelling can press against the nerves, causing pain. Most patients find that pain medication and a program dedicated to pain relief makes postoperative pain tolerable.
Myth: All bunion surgeries are the same
Fact: Though all bunion surgeries involve manipulation of the bone, there are different approaches to bunion surgery that can generally be divided into 3 categories:
- Bunion Shaving: Generally for very small bunions, some excess bone is removed from the inside of the toe. Ligament repair may also performed to realign the big toe. This type of surgery is often combined with other types of procedures.
- Bone Cutting: With this type of surgery, the malpositioned bone is repaired by cutting and structurally changing the shape of the bone for better alignment.
- Bone Fusion: This method realigns the entire bone through the arch by fusing a non-essential joint in the foot. The bone is realigned at the point where it deviates.
Myth: Bunions can come back after surgery
Fact: Recurrence of a surgically removed bunion is possible, but not very likely. Most patients are satisfied with their outcome after bunion surgery. Some patients have excessive motion in the foot that may predispose them to recurrence. Another possible reason for recurrence occurs when a procedure that was performed did not best suit the severity of the particular bunion — so it’s important to have the surgery tailored for your particular bunion.
Myth: Recovery from bunion surgery takes a long time
Fact: Depending on the type of bunionectomy performed and the severity of the bunion, it may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to heal mend after bunion surgery. Age and overall health of the patient can also impact recovery time.
Myth: Bunion surgery leaves unsightly scars
Fact: With any surgery, there is the risk that a surgical incision will leave a scar. Bunionectomy incisions are usually located on the top or side of the foot. A surgeon may use a plastic surgery-type closure to keep scarring to a minimum.