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What is a bunionectomy?
A bunionectomy is simply a surgical procedure to excise, or remove, a bunion from the foot.
What is a bunion and what causes a bunion?
A bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe and is comprised of bone and soft tissue. It is usually a result of inflammation and irritation from poorly fitting (narrow or tight) shoes in conjunction with an overly mobile first metatarsal joint and over-pronation of the foot. Over time, a painful lump appears at the side of the joint, while the big toe appears to buckle and move sideway towards the second toe. New bone growth can occur in response to the inflammatory process, and a bone spur may develop. Therefore, the development of a bunion may involve soft tissue as well as a hard bone spur.
What are the symptoms of a bunion?
Enlargement and swelling of the joint at the base of the big toe; a painful lump at the side of that joint, and pain which makes walking and other activities extremely difficult. Since the involved joint is a significant structure in providing weight-bearing stability, walking on the foot while trying to avoid putting pressure on the painful area can create an unstable gait.
What treatment options exist to treat a bunion?
A bunionectomy is performed when conservative means of addressing the problem, including properly fitting, wide-toed shoes, a padded cushion against the joint, orthotics, and anti-inflammatory medication, are unsuccessful. As the big toe moves sideways, it can push the second toe sideways as well. This can result in extreme deformity of the foot, and the patient may complain not only of significant pain, but of an inability to find shoes that fit.