A bunion is a painful foot deformity that develops at the joint connecting the big toe to the foot. This condition occurs when the joint moves out of place, creating a bump (varying in size) on the side of the foot. Bunions are usually caused by atypical pressures placed on the foot, usually from ill-fitting or tight shoes. Pain caused by the bunion may restrict patients from completing regular tasks, or prohibit them from being able to take more than a few steps.
There are several non-surgical procedures to alleviate pain caused by bunions: pads, moleskin, or a change of shoes to decrease the amount of pressure on the bunion. If these non-operative treatment methods are ineffective, a bunion correction surgery may be warranted. A bunion correction surgery is highly successful and can be executed in numerous ways and is tailored to the patient based on the patient’s age, activity level, overall health, weight and severity of the condition. This outpatient surgery takes about 6 weeks to heal, however if the bunion is more severe, it may take longer.
A hammertoe is a foot deformity where the middle toe joint is raised and bent. This condition occurs in the three middle toes of the foot, and is easily diagnosable.
Hammertoe symptoms include:
- Formation of corns at the top of the bent joint
- Pain and inflammation at the joint
- Reduced movement of the toe
Although imaging is not usually needed to diagnose the condition, X-Rays are required to determine the level of severity. There are several methods to relieving pain from a hammertoe: shoes with a larger toe-box, orthotics, cortisone injections, and physical therapy, just to name a few. If pain and discomfort persists after these conservative treatments, a surgical route may be taken.
There are several types of surgery that can be performed depending on the severity of the deformity caused by the hammertoe. Hammertoes of lesser severity may require a small piece of bone to be removed at the top of the bent joint. More severe deformities may require lengthening and movement of tendons and pins are placed to keep the toe in proper alignment. Sometimes, a fusion may be recommended, where ligaments and tendons are cut and bones are fused. In any case, the hammertoe repair procedure is done on an outpatient basis, and may take a few months to heal.
As with any surgery, there is risk of infection, nerve damage, blood clots and bleeding. Specifically for this procedure, there is risk of misalignment and in some cases, the hammertoe may return. However, these complications are very rare.