A bunion is caused when toe bones shift into the wrong areas of the foot. When a person has a bunion, the first metatarsal bone will jut outward at the joint of the big toe and causes a bump on the outside of the foot.
This bump can become red and swollen and rub against the side of a shoe, which can cause considerable pain when standing, walking or running. In some cases, the bump can be so large and painful that a person is unable to wear shoes. A bunion doesn’t improve on its own; instead it only worsens over time, and can result in severe arthritis.
There are treatments available that can eradicate the painful deformity, but not all treatments are good ones. In fact, people should avoid what is called “tightrope bunion surgery.”
Tightrope bunion surgery is when two small holes are drilled into the metatarsal bone through which fiberwire is threaded through to bind the first and second metatarsals together, pulling the first metatarsal into proper alignment. The idea is that tension of the wire will pull and hold the bones correctly.
While it sounds good on paper, what many foot surgeons or even hospitals don’t tell patients is that complications from tightrope bunion surgery can include loss of correction, loosening of the wire and fracture of the 2nd metatarsal during the surgery. Now, you have a bunion and a broken bone.
Also, there are no long-term studies to validate tightrope bunion surgery, only loud marketing claims of a “miracle cure.” Don’t believe the hype. The bottom line is that tightrope bunion surgery is a very bad procedure because the “tightrope” can pull on the metatarsals and cause them to fracture.
Does that mean people with bunions simply have to suffer? Of course not.
An experienced foot and ankle doctor will recommend trying non-surgical remedies before having bunion surgery. Orthotics (in shoe orthopedic devices), changing shoe sizes and changing shoe styles may relieve bunion pain.
Only chronic bunion pain and/or bunions that interfere with daily activities are reasons to consider surgery.
An osteotomy is the most common type of bunion surgery. In this procedure, the foot and ankle surgeon makes an incision near the toe joint and returns the bones to their original position. At the same time, the ligaments surrounding the toe joint may be brought into balance.
Remember, any type of foot, leg or ankle pain is never normal. A foot and ankle doctor can examine your feet, leg or ankle and give you the best course of action.
Please call 626-447-2184 (Arcadia) or 818-408-2800 (San Fernando) to speak to a foot and ankle specialist about your foot, leg or ankle needs.