Things to Consider About Bunion Surgery

Posted by Dr. Brian Nagy on February 28, 2017

doctor evaluating for bunion surgeryDo you feel like you’ve tried everything to resolve the pain caused by the bump on your big toe? If you’ve been trying to manage your bunion pain, but it’s only getting worse, then surgery may be your next best option. While you’re considering bunion surgery, there are some important questions you’ll want to ask yourself, as well as the New Hampshire podiatrist who may perform the procedure.

What caused your bunion?

A bunion is a bone deformity that causes a painful bump to form on your big toe when the toe moves out of place. It’s caused by an enlargement of the joint at the base and side of the big toe. Bunions are genetic – the primary reason for getting a bunion is inheriting a faulty foot structure that causes you to walk with an abnormal gait that eventually pushes your toe joint out of place. In other words, if your parents or someone else in your family has bunions, it’s likely you will too.

Have you tried at-home or over-the-counter treatments?

Bunion treatment usually begins with conservative lifestyle adjustments such as wearing larger shoes with a wider toe box, or trying protective padding, splints, or orthotic shoe inserts. When none of these options work and you’re still experiencing pain, bunion surgery can be an effective treatment method.

What is your pain level living with a bunion?

You may be considering surgical options because your bunion is restricting you from completing your everyday routines or activities, limiting you from walking or standing without severe pain, or not even allowing you to bend or straighten your toe any longer. Depending on the stage of your bunion your pain level may be a mild feeling of achiness or irritation or feeling chronic pain in your toe joint. If it’s the latter, then you should consider surgery to remove the bunion and realign the toe.

Why do you want bunion surgery?

Are you considering surgery simply because you don’t like the look of your bunion? Or does it cause some discomfort, has it become difficult to bear weight, or is the pain unbearable? Depending on your pain level and the progression of the bunion, conservative options may be enough to manage the pain so that you won’t need any further treatment at all. If your bunion is causing chronic pain and it’s difficult to bear weight, then further action, such as surgery, may be the best option.

Is it a minimally invasive procedure (MIS)?

Minimally invasive bunion surgery – also known as a bunionectomy – causes significantly less trauma to the foot than traditional surgery. MIS is an outpatient procedure done by making a very small incision directly on top or side of the big toe joint. The incision goes through the skin to the bone to remove or realign the bone or soft tissue without damaging the soft tissue. This is done to relieve pain and restore normal alignment to the toe joint.

How long does the procedure take?

Minimally invasive bunion surgery is an outpatient procedure. In other words, you’re never a bed patient when you have MIS and the actual procedure shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours.

How long is the recovery process?

Minimally invasive bunion surgery will fix your problem and allow you to heal much faster than traditional surgery. After MIS bunion correction, you’ll leave the procedure able to bear weight on your feet. It’s recommended that you ice, elevate and limit walking for about 72 hours. You can expect to have 1 to 3 stiches for about a week to avoid infections caused by irritations, but there is no time off your feet – you’ll be able to walk around doing your day-to-day activities in no time!

Where will you have the surgery?

Since the surgery is an outpatient procedure, it can be done right there at the foot care practice. When visiting the location of the practice, make sure you take a tour and meet the podiatrist who will be doing the procedure. Don’t underestimate first impressions. As you take a tour, look around to see if the space is in good condition and smells fresh and clean. Don’t hesitate to ask about the sanitation practices as well and pre-and post-surgery procedures. 

Especially pay attention to the way you feel when you walk in as well as when you leave. Was the staff friendly and willing to answer your questions? How did the atmosphere make you feel? Nervous? Relaxed? Remember to go with your gut and ask good questions.

Is your doctor qualified to perform the surgery?

Make your sure New Hampshire podiatrist is licensed and certified to do foot surgery. A medical license sets the minimum competency requirements to diagnose and treat patients and is not specialty specific. For this reason, find out if your foot doctor is board certified as well. This is a voluntary process that demonstrates a physician’s exceptional expertise in a specialty and/or subspecialty of medical practice.

How much does the surgery cost?

The cost of bunion surgery is influenced by several factors: the stage of your bunion development, the podiatrist doing the surgery, where the procedure takes place, the use of anesthesia, and your type of insurance. For these reasons, you can’t really get an accurate cost estimate until you’re evaluated by a New Hampshire podiatrist.

Does insurance cover all or part of the procedure?

Nagy Footcare accepts a variety of HMOs, PPOs, and other health plans. Please call our office to verify acceptance of your insurance carrier.

At Nagy Footcare, we use conservative treatments first to treat your bunion. Sometimes though minimally invasive bunion surgery is recommended as the best option. To find out if it’s the right option for you, contact us to schedule an initial consultation. We can help you find freedom from foot pain by talking with you to help you gain clarity and listening to you to customize a treatment plan that gets you where you need to be. At Nagy Footcare, our best day is when you wake up with no foot pain.

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Topics: Bunions, Foot Surgery

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