Houston podiatrist discusses bunion surgery on both feet

Bunions look like bumps that form next to your big or small toe joint. But they are actually bones that change direction and grow outward. That growth can also cause swelling in your soft tissue, which is why some bunions seem red and angry.

Many times, bunions develop because of pressure on those bones. It could be from bad shoes. Or because of your genes, and weak mechanics in your feet. (People with flat feet have a higher risk for bunions. And hammertoes as well, since bunion growth can impact your toe structure.) In fact, the pressure could be a combination of your body structure and your shoes.

Often, the source of pressure affects both your feet. And that's why many people who suffer with a bunion on one foot often have a bunion on their other foot too. Now, since bunions are often painful, and make it hard to fit into shoes, you'll want to treat those bunions. Before they get worse and cause more problems.

If I see you early enough, we may be able to treat your bunions without surgery. Early interventions including padding your bony bumps to prevent painful rubbing. We can also fit you for orthotics. These can correct biomechanical issues that contribute to your bunion growth. Which means your bunions probably won't get bigger. But, at the same time, they won't go away. Because the only way to remove bunions is with surgery.

Surgical Bunion Treatment 

When you have bunions on both your feet, you may be very uncomfortable. So I wouldn't be surprised to hear that you want bunion surgery. Or that you want me to operate on both your feet in one go.

After all, surgery to correct a bunion requires a significant investment in time. It makes sense, then, to have both feet operated on at the same time. Unfortunately though, that logic doesn't fly in my Houston podiatry practice. Because, while some doctors may agree with this convenience, I don't. In fact, along with many of my colleagues I recommend against it.

Why fight convenience, you ask? Here's the deal: there are many different ways to correct your problem with bunion surgery. Before operating, I'll x-ray your foot and figure out the best procedure.

The approach I choose will depend on the site of your pain and the rotation of your bones. But no matter what, I'll reposition your metatarsal bone and straighten your big toe. And that means, when I perform bunion surgery, I must make a surgical fracture in your bone. Now. that's a medical procedure, so your broken bone will be stable. But that doesn't mean your fracture won't worsen with excess pressure. In fact, that's a real possibility.

To prevent that complication, we have specific post-operative instructions for bunion removal. After surgery, we need to limit swelling by keeping your foot elevated. We'll also have a dressing on your foot. And that needs to stay clean and dry for several weeks after your surgery. Which is where things can get complicated if we operate on two bunions at once.

Post-Op Care for Bunion Surgery 

woman with a bunion fitting into shoes

Most of my bunion patients can walk right after surgery. That's because I'll put a protective boot on your foot. Still, even with that boot, you'll have to give that foot some special care and attention.

When I operate on one bunion, its simple to care for one foot after surgery. But it's far more difficult to do the same for both feet at the same time. Plus, when I operate on both your feet, there will be more limits on mobility sfter surgery.

Now do you understand why I recommend AGAINST doing both bunion surgeries at once? If not, let me make it very clear. If we treat both your bunions at once, you might not like the results. Because, what sometimes happens is you end up with one excellent result and one that's subpar. Should that happen to you, you'd likely face a future revision surgery. And no one wants that, I'm sure. Instead, wouldn't you rather get two stellar results? Even if that means two seperate bunion surgeries?

If you are having pain from the bunions on your feet, don't wait to have them checked! As I mentioned, when we treat bunions early, we can try non-surgical options. And that dictate if you need surgery, or how limited you will be during your recovery. Like the sound of that option? Don't wait around while your bunions get bigger. Instead, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an immediate appointment. We'll check out those bunions and come up with a fast and effective treatment plan!

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.