FAQs: Bunion Surgery
When it comes to bunions and bunion surgery, there are a lot of unanswered questions and myths floating around. The podiatrists at Triad Foot Center are here to give you straight answers regarding some of your most common questions.
- What is a Bunion?
A bunion is a bony deformity that forms at the base of the big toe. It causes the big toe joint to protrude from the base of the joint and forms a bump. In severe cases, bunions are painful and unsightly. If you are considering surgery to correct a bunion, you are most likely suffering with pain when wearing shoes, or cannot find shoes that fit well.
- If I postpone surgery will it make my bunion worse?
Undergoing surgery is a big decision, which is why many people put off surgical treatment. In many cases, they wonder if putting off corrective surgery can make their bunion even worse. Bunions typically do get worse with time. However long it would take for them to get worse varies on a case by case basis. Some bunions worsen quickly, while others might take many years.
- Is bunion surgery covered by insurance?
All insurance companies and policies are different, but in general, the answer is usually yes. Bunions that are painful and cause any gait abnormalities are usually considered a medical condition and in such cases, bunion surgery is generally covered. If surgery is being considered for cosmetic reasons only, and the bunion is small and does not cause pain, surgery may not be covered by insurance. Be sure to check with your insurance before undergoing any surgical procedure to determine the portion of medical expenses for which you will be responsible.
- I hear there are different types of bunion surgeries. What are they?
There are several surgical techniques when correcting bunions, which include:
- Bone Cutting: The bone that is protruding from the joint is cut and filed, placing it back into alignment.
- Bunion Shaving: This typically is used for small bunions, where the excess bone is removed. The ligament may also be repaired to help realign the big toe.
- Bone Fusion: The entire bone is fused through the arch to a non-essential joint in the foot. This realigns the deviated bone back into its proper position.
- Will I be able to walk following surgery?
Following surgery the first thing you want to do is get back on your feet and begin living your life again, so its natural to worry about how long it will take to be able to walk normally again. Immediately following a bunion surgery, you may be able to walk with the help of a surgical shoe, but many surgeons only reserve the surgical shoes for small bunion correction. Be sure to speak with your podiatric surgeon about their recovery parameters. Some down time will most likely be required where you will need to stay off of the affected foot if your bunion correction surgery is more involved.
- How long is the recovery period?
The recovery period is typically around six weeks. It may take some longer than others to transition into shoes, but most people are able to return to full activity by three months.
- Can I drive after surgery?
Naturally, immediately after surgery, you will not be able to drive. Later, your ability to drive largely depends on how limited your foot is due to casts and surgical shoes. The general rule of thumb is if you are in a cast, it’s best not to drive for safety reasons.
- Will my bunion return after surgery?
Typically bunions don’t come back unless you suffer from ligamentous laxity, which increases your chances of a re-occurrence. Re-occurrence is generally low following surgery.
For more information about bunion surgery or to schedule a consultation with one of the podiatrists at the Triad Foot Center, please click here to request an appointment.