Although over 3 million Americans are impacted by them each year, many patients still find bunions to be an embarrassing condition, as well as one that can cause a good deal of discomfort. When the hallmark bony lump appears at the base of the big toe joint, it can be easily aggravated by shoes or certain activities and may become painful, red and inflamed. Over time, this can mean a reduction in activity or a need to avoid situations where the condition may become aggravated, and patients often begin to seek treatment options to help improve or correct their bunion. For many, this will mean corrective surgery using one of the following techniques:
During an osteotomy, the surgeon will access the joint and realign it through small incisions. The newly aligned joint will then be held in place with pins, plates, or screws. In addition, ligaments and tendons around the joint that are too tight or loose may also require correction in order to help the joint maintain its new position.
For some patients, bunions are the result of arthritic joints. In these cases, it is often best to replace the damaged portions of the joint with components such as plates, screws, or wires. Similarly, patients with particularly severe bunions or for whom a previous surgery has failed may also benefit from an arthrodesis.
An Exostectomy involves removing the bump itself but does not make any change to the joint alignment. For this reason, exostectomy alone is rarely used as it often fails to address the underlying cause of the bunion. Instead, it will likely be used in conjunction with other methods such as osteotomy and soft tissue correction.
Which Type of Bunion Surgery is Best for You?
Even within these three types of surgical approach, there are many specific techniques, such as Austin or Lapidus bunionectomy, which may be used. Determining which will provide the best results for you requires the consideration of factors such as severity of the condition, underlying cause, and any past procedures.
In the end, the best results will come from selecting a skilled podiatrist with extensive experience in the successful removal of bunions. In Baton Rouge, doctors O. Christian Hall and Patrick Hall of the Bone and Joint Clinic have been providing exceptional care to foot and ankle patients for decades. To request a consultation for evaluation and care of a bunion or similar condition, simply click below.