We have had many patients come through our door, concerned that they have a bunion. Why are they concerned? Surprisingly, there are many times when they're concerned simply because they think they have one and not about the pain that it is causing. They may come in simply because they think a bunion is beginning and they don't want their foot to look like their mother's/father's/grandparents foot did when they were older. While many people have a bunion deformity, the very presence of a bunion does not REQUIRE that you have surgery!
If an older family member or parent has a history of bunions and you think you are seeing a little bit of a bump near your big toe joint, don't worry right away! For non-painful bunions, there are conservative treatments that can slow the progression of this deformity. If there is some mild pain or pain only with certain activities, there are ways to accommodate these symptoms. It is a good idea to see a podiatrist even in these early stages, in order to ensure that the bunion is thoroughly assessed and that any conservative treatments can be initiated. Treatment can stave off the need for surgery down the road.
While we would all like to believe that splints and other contraptions seen in SkyMall and health magazines can magically repair a bunion, they cannot. A bunion is a complex deformity and once a bunion is present, there is no way to get rid of the bunion without doing surgery. That being said, there are a lot of people with very impressive bunion deformities that do not have pain, and in the absence of pain, there are very few reasons to perform bunion surgery.
If you have a painful bunion that keeps you from comfortably doing the things that are important to you - or keep you from wearing shoes comfortably, surgery may be an appropriate treatment for you at some point. Thankfully, in most cases of bunion surgery, you can return to your own shoes within 4-6 weeks. Come in and talk to us if you are worried about a bunion that you have. We can give you the answers you need and will be realistic about what options have the best potential to free your mind from bunion concerns!
To learn more about bunions, read our article, Not All Bunions are Created Equal.