Bunions are one of the most common conditions that can affect the feet, and one of the most common conditions that that our foot and ankle surgeons treat at Seaview Orthopaedic.
Bunions are deformities that occur at the joint at the base of the big toe. The first long bone in the foot, called the first metatarsal, shifts outward at the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, creating a protruding bump on the side of the foot and causing the big toe to shift toward the second toe.
Bunions can cause pain and discomfort, but there are several treatment options available. The surgeons at Seaview Orthopaedic, Dr. Aron Green, Dr. Eric Beights, and Dr. George Fahoury, are here to help.
How Do Bunions Occur?
There are several factors that can contribute to the formation of a bunion, including genetics and choice of footwear.
Bunions are thought to have a genetic component, including laxity of the joints or poorly formed or abnormal collagen. In some cases, bunions will develop in children due to a genetic predisposition to this foot deformity.
Improper footwear can also contribute to bunion formation or cause the deformity to worsen. Shoes that are too tight, ill-fitting, or narrow can increase the likelihood of bunion development. High heels may also be a contributing factor, as they force the toes to crowd into the front of the shoe. To decrease your chances of developing a bunion, it is recommended that you avoid this type of footwear. Recommended footwear has a heel height of less than 1.5 inches.
Bunions are more common in women than in men. Footwear is thought to be a contributing factor, as a study by the American Foot and Ankle Society found that 88% of women have worn shoes that did not fit properly.
Bunions often worsen over time, particularly without proper treatment. As the bunion gets larger, it will become more painful and may lead to additional problems. Bunions cause the MTP joint to become enlarged, which may lead to bursitis, an inflammation of the fluid-filled sac that cushions the joint. It can also lead to misalignment of the second toe, as the big toe angles further inward, causing a painful hammertoe.
At Seaview Orthopaedics, we offer both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for bunions. Our highly skilled foot and ankle surgeons will examine your condition and develop a treatment plan.
Initial treatment for a bunion is generally nonsurgical. We recommend that patients with bunions wear shoes that are wider and have heels that are less than 1.5 inches high to avoid further irritation of the bunion.
Anti-inflammatory medications may be recommended if the bunion is painful. Orthotics have also proven to be helpful for patients in the early stages of bunion deformity. Orthotics may be purchased over-the-counter, or they can be custom-made, which may be effective. Seaview utilizes a dynamic gait lab to create a custom mold for the orthotic.
Nonsurgical treatment can be helpful for reducing pain and preventing further progression of the deformity, but it will not correct the deformity. If a patient continues to experience pain, or the bunion deformity worsens, surgery is typically recommended.
There are over 100 different surgical techniques that can be used to correct a bunion deformity. The surgeons at Seaview Orthopaedics are highly qualified and will provide guidance to choose the procedure that is right for you.
Bunion deformities are categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. Based on the severity of the bunion, your surgeon will choose the surgical technique that is best suited to correct the deformity.
For a mild bunion deformity, distal procedures are often recommended. These procedures involve using a wire or screw to stabilize and straighten the joint. A soft tissue procedure is often performed alongside the distal procedure to tighten any loose tissues or lengthen tight tissues, helping to correct imbalance in the joint.
Moderate and severe bunion deformities require more extensive surgical treatment. In these cases, a proximal osteotomy or fusion is often performed. An osteotomy involves making small cuts in the bone to realign and straighten the joint. Osteotomies may be performed in several places to achieve proper alignment. Pins, screws, or plates are used to fix the bones in place. A soft tissue procedure may also be done to help maintain proper alignment of the joint. New minimally invasive procedures have emerged to treat bunions, and Dr. Green is a leader in the field. Dr. Green is faculty for a proximal procedure to treat large bunion deformity that allows almost immediate weight bearing. These procedures allow for a faster recovery and easier rehabilitation.
At Seaview Orthopaedics, our goal is to constantly work toward providing the best outcomes for our patients. Our surgeons are investigating and developing new treatment options for bunions. A treatment option developed by one of our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Aron Green, is currently in the FDA approval process.
At Seaview, our surgeons are constantly working to maximize outcomes for our patients to ensure that you are able to return to work and play. Recovery times will vary based on the type of procedure needed. Physical therapy, which is offered at all five Seaview office locations, may be recommended after surgery to restore strength and range of motion in the foot.
Possible complications of bunion surgery include stiffness and positional abnormalities in the big toe. There is also a chance that the bunion can recur after surgery. The chance of recurrence can be as low as 5% and as high as 50%. It is recommended that patients avoid tight, narrow shoes and high heels after bunion surgery to reduce the chance of recurrence.
Bunion Treatment in Jersey Shore and Central New Jersey
The team at Seaview Orthopaedics offer a full range of surgical and nonsurgical treatments for bunion relief. Dr. Aron Green, Dr. Eric Beights, and Dr. George Fahoury are highly skilled in bunion treatment and are happy to help with all of your treatment needs. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Green, Dr. Beights, or Dr. Fahoury at one of our five office locations, please call (732) 660-6200. We look forward to helping you!