Bunion Treatment and Management
Bunions are one of the most common foot deformities, particularly among women. By some accounts, up to 50% of females may develop at least one during their lives.
Men can also get them – but they appear to be lucky and are less likely to develop symptoms than their female counterparts.
Because adults can’t have all the fun, we also see bunions in some children.
No matter which demographic applies to you (or your loved one), here’s a simple truth:
This condition causes pain, difficulty, and will not go away on its own. In fact, a bunion will continue to become more severe if left unaddressed.
Don’t let that happen to you! Instead, come see Dr. Leibovitz at our Indianapolis office for professional bunion treatment.
(Why do you have a bunion in the first place? Nope, it’s not your shoes!)
How to recognize a bunion
There are various stages in a bunion’s progression, but two clear indications are:
- A bump protruding from your big toe joint (where it connects to the foot)
- The big toe angles toward the second toe (instead of pointing straight ahead)
As the condition progresses, these symptoms will become more prominent.
Other issues you may experience include pain from shoe pressure, discomfort with joint movement, redness, swelling, and calluses on the bump and/or toe joint.
If the bump is directly on top of the joint – instead of on the side – it may be a related condition known as Hallux Limitus (Stiff Big Toe Joint).
If the bump is at the base of your smallest toe, that is known as a tailor’s bunion or bunionette.
Do you need bunion surgery?
Obviously, very few people actually want to undergo a surgical procedure. So this is a common question.
The fact of the matter is this:
While the answer depends on the severity of your bunion and problems it causes you, the only way to restore the toe to a natural alignment is with surgery. (Those splints you see in the back of magazines or on late night TV just cost you money and do not change the bunion deformity.)
Now, one of the core pillars at our podiatry practice is that we take every measure possible to treat your condition with conservative (nonsurgical) care.
What does that look like for a bunion? After all, isn’t surgery the only way to straighten the toe?
Let’s go back for a second to that point about “the severity of your bunion.”
See, if a bunion is caught early and hasn’t advanced to a severe state, we have treatment options that can the potential to slow the progression and manage symptoms.
For example, some nonsurgical bunion treatment may include:
- Assisting you in finding comfortable shoes (featuring adequate room for the wayward toe)
- Padding or taping services (if the joint remains sufficiently flexible)
- Prescribing custom orthotics to accommodate an underlying structural issue responsible for the bunion
- Using laser therapy to help manage pain caused by your bunion
Before moving ahead, it’s worth reemphasizing – left unaddressed, bunions will continue to become more severe over time. With that being the case, it’s in your best interest to act today. Just give us a call at (317) 545-0505 and we’ll be happy to help.
What if you do need corrective surgery?
When bunion pain interferes with doing the things you love – and conservative approaches have proven insufficient – Dr. Leibovitz can provide surgical options.
However, he will always take the time to discuss all options with you and give you the final say!
Your options will be determined by Dr. Leibovitz based on both the severity of your condition and discussions about your treatment goals.
Surgical procedures he might recommend include (but aren’t limited to):
- Exostectomy/bunionectomy. Removal of the bony bump. Usually performed in combination with other techniques, as the bunion is likely to reoccur if the joint is not properly realigned.
- Osteotomy. Affected bones are cut, realigned, and held together with hardware during the healing process.
- Arthrodesis. A common choice for patients with more severe bunions and/or arthritis. The arthritic joint surfaces are removed, and the bones are fused together.
Surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, so you can go home the same day — no hospitalization required.
The length of recovery varies based on the type of surgery performed, as well as your adherence to post-op care instructions. Dr. Leibovitz will be frank with you and establish an expected timeline for when you can return to activities like walking, driving, or working.
Of course, we will take time to fully explain your post-op instructions. After all, being educated about your condition and treatment plan is the best way to ensure a full, quick (as possible), and uneventful recovery!
You don’t have to live with bunion pain!
Don’t suffer through a painful bunion until symptoms become unbearable and you’re no longer able to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
Instead, let Jeffrie C. Leibovitz, D.P.M. and his team help as soon as you recognize an issue. You may be able to avoid surgery, or qualify for a less extensive one, by being proactive.
To schedule an appointment, please fill out our online contact form or call the office at (317) 545-0505.