Bunion Treatment in South Florida
Foot Pain Specialties
With over 28 bones and over 30 joints, the foot is a complex structure composed of three sections, the forefoot, the midfoot, and the hindfoot. Five long bones (metatarsals) and five toes (phalanges) form the forefoot, and the metatarsophalangeal joints are created where these bones meet. The bones of the midfoot create three arches, which provide stability, flexibility, and support the weight of the body during movement. The plantar fascia is a long ligament located underneath the arches of the foot, which connects the heel to the forefoot and supports the arches during movement. The two bones of the hindfoot (talus and calcaneus) form the heel and the ankle, where the Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel.
Causes of Bunions
A bunion is an expansion of both tissue and bone on the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe. A bump on the base of the toe forms as the tissue and bone grows, forcing the toe to begin to turn inwards toward the second toe. The bump and the surrounding area will become swollen, red, and tender. Patients also often experience stiffness and skin irritation.
Bunions are caused by an abnormal amount of pressure placed on the big toe during walking, which grows slowly over time, as the amount of pressure placed on the toe increases. Foot shape, such as flatfoot, or an abnormal walking pattern have a large impact on the chances of a bunion forming. Likewise, shoe shape can increase the chances of bunion formation. Tight fitting shoes or shoes that shift weight to the toes can increase the pressure placed on the big toe. Foot injury, arthritis, and loose ligaments can also lead to, or increase, bunion formation.
Bunion Treatment Options
Many patients have success relieving pain symptoms through the use of non-surgical treatments. Roomy shoes and shoe inserts can evenly distribute the pressure placed on the toe, which will reduce pain and prevent the tissue or bone from growing. Taping and padding can help keep the foot in a normal position, which will also help relieve pressure. Pain medications, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen and cortisone injections, can temporarily relieve pain symptoms.
Surgical treatment is commonly recommended for patients who are unable to achieve pain relief, have severe pain that interferes with daily activities, and who have severe foot deformity. There are several surgical procedures that can realign the affected joint, relieve pain, and correct any deformity. The cause of the pressure placed on the big toe will determine which surgical procedure will best meet the patient’s needs.
Arthrodesis is a surgical procedure in which the damaged areas of the metatarsophalangeal joint are removed. Screws or plates are attached to the surface of the bones to hold the joint together during healing. Arthrodesis is recommended for patients who have severe bunions or arthritis in the metatarsophalangeal joint. Resection arthroplasty is a surgical procedure in which only the damaged areas of the joint are removed, and is recommended for patients who have previously had bunion surgery. Osteotomy is a surgical procedure in which the bones of the metatarsophalangeal joint are cut and realigned. During an osteotomy procedure, Dr. Weaver will also shorten any loose ligaments or lengthen any tight ligaments. This will help create more balance and decrease the pressure placed on the toe during walking.
Post Bunion Surgery
Bunion surgery is typically done on an outpatient basis, so patients can expect to return home the same day as surgery. With proper homecare after surgery, patients can decrease their chances of a bunion recurring. Post surgery, patients will have to wear a specially made postoperative surgical shoe or cast for six to eight weeks, in order for the joint to heal properly. It is particularly crucial that dressings stay undisturbed and dry during the six to eight week period, in order to prevent a bunion from forming again.
Bunion Surgery in South Florida
Dr. Jamie Weaver is a board-certified podiatrist who provides unparalleled treatment to patients in the Southwest Florida area. Dr. Weaver works with patients on an individual basis to provide specialized and state of the art care. To learn more about bunion treatment options, contact Dr. Weaver at the Joint Replacement Institute’s Naples office, (239) 261-2663.