Do you have questions about bunions? We have answers.
Do you have questions about bunions or the causes of bunion pain? Tanglewood Foot Specialists provides the answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about bunions and hallux valgus deformities. If you are suffering with bunions, schedule an appointment to talk to Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider at (713) 785-7881.
- Page 1
Can I have my bunions on both feet operated on at the same time?
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 SurgeryMost 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!
Will an injection stop my bunion from hurting?
The pain associated with a bunion on your foot is due to inflammation. That inflammation can be either at the bump on the side of your foot or deeper within the joint. Reducing the inflammation would help to control the bunion pain.
A cortisone injection is very effective in reducing the pain from a bunion. Because the area of inflammation is so localized, an injection does a better job than taking an oral anti-inflammatory medication. Even so, the results of the injection are likely to be temporary. Over time, the inflammation will build up again and cause the pain to return.
If you are experiencing bunion pain, the best time to get it checked and treated is now. Whether it be an injection, padding, custom orthotics, or even bunion surgery, Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider will recommend the best and most effective treatment for you.
What are the best shoes to wear with bunions?
Many people who have painful bunions on their feet struggle with shoes. The bump on the side of their foot at the great toe joint just takes too much pressure and becomes painful in their favorite shoes.
The ideal shoe for someone with a painful bunion is one that has a wider forefoot and a narrower heel. Unfortunately a shoe like this is difficult to find. Some pads, like Dr. Jill's Gel Bunion cushions, are helpful in taking some of the pressure away, but for some it can just make the shoe tighter.
The best shoes to wear with a bunion is simply the shoes that are most comfortable. A tennis shoe that is the widest you can comfortably keep on your foot or a dress shoe that doesn't provide too much pressure on your bunion may be your best bet. When you find that you have fewer and fewer shoe choices, it is time to consider surgery.
If you find that you simply have no shoes that are fitting your bunion comfortably anymore, it is time to consider bunion surgery. Houston bunion surgeon Dr. Andrew Schneider will evaluate the bunions on your feet and recommend the best course of personalized treatment. Contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists for an immediate appointment.
Can I drive after bunion surgery?
Bunion surgery is a major surgery, although done on an outpatient basis. It involves sedation and general anesthesia. Because of that, you cannot drive on the day of surgery. In the rare case where one of my patients insists on local anesthesia only, with no sedation, I still don't allow them to leave the Houston outpatient surgery center on their own.
After the day of your bunion surgery, driving depends on a number of factors. If your left foot was operated on, and you drive an automatic vehicle, then driving is not a problem. If bunion surgery was done on your right foot, or if your car has a clutch, then there is a safety issue.
After a bunion on your foot is operated on, there will be a dressing on it and you will be wearing a stiff surgical shoe. This limits your driving in a couple of ways. First, you have to be concerned about your surgery and the investment you are making in your recovery. Think about it....if you are forced to slam on your brakes, the area of your bunion surgery can be injured. This can extend your recovery and even require another emergency surgery to correct. The second issue is the safety of driving. When you have a extensive gauze dressing on your foot and wearing an inflexible shoe, you lose the mobility and sensitivity to drive safely.
At Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX, we are committed to solving your bunion pain, whether with or without foot surgery. We also need to make sure you stay safe to make sure you are able to fully enjoy life without pain from the bunion on your foot. Contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an immediate appointment.
Will my bunion come back after surgery?
The goal of bunion surgery is to reposition the metatarsal bone and eliminate the bump on the side of your foot. The foot surgery addresses the effect of unstable mechanics that caused the bunion to form in the first place. This mechanics is usually hereditary...one of your parents or grandparents probably have bunions. You have them to thank!
Bunion surgery deals with the effect of your hereditary built-in mechanics. The way your foot functions is what created your bunion. By repositioning the bone that forms the bunion, you just restart the clock. If nothing further is done after surgery, your mechanics will take over and your bunion can come back.
After surgery, it is essential to focus on controlling the mechanics that formed your bunion. This control is achieved with a custom foot orthotic. An orthotic will balance your feet and ankles to neutralize your mechanics and prevent your bunions from returning.
If you had bunion surgery and are worried that your bunions may return, do not wait!! Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider will evaluate your mechanics and prescribe the custom shoe insole that will get your feet feeling the best, provide you stability and efficiency, and prevent those bunions from returning.
When should you get a bunion checked by a podiatrist?
A mild bunion becomes a moderate bunion which progressively becomes more severe. Bunions on your feet are caused by unstable foot mechanics and the bone will continue to rotate outwards causing the bunion to enlarge. Left to their own progression, the bunion will appear bigger as the angle of the bone increases.
The only way to correct a bunion on your feet is with foot surgery. The procedure and recovery is dictated by the severity of the bunion. So the recovery for a mild bunion is easier than for that of a moderate bunion. Surgery for a severe bunion may require weeks in a cast using crutches.
To ensure the easiest recovery, you should get your bunion checked immediately if it is causing you pain. If you are noticing a bump on the side of your great toe joint but don't yet feel pain...that's even better! With a custom orthotic, we can often neutralize the forces that cause the bunion to progress, in many cases avoiding bunion surgery altogether.
Whether you feel constant pain in your bunion, or your just starting to notice it, you should get the bunion on your foot checked. Houston podiatrist and bunion surgeon Dr. Andrew Schneider will evaluate the progression of your bunion and recommend the most appropriate treatment for you.
Do I need to wear a cast after bunion surgery?
There is no "one size fits all" bunion surgery. This is because a mild bunion will require a different procedure than a severe bunion deformity will. As such, there is different procedures that can be performed to correct a bunion on your feet.
Some bunion surgery procedures are stable, such as the ones performed for a mild and moderate bunion. The stability of a procedure is largely due to the part of the foot being operated on, the type of procedure, and the type and stability of the fixation used. Because of the good stability, we don't need to add additional stability and protection from a cast.
With more severe bunions, the procedure itself is less stable. In order for it to successfully heal, we need to offer protection. It is in these situations where you will be in a cast after surgery.
Mild and moderate bunions on your feet do become severe over time. Having your bunions evaluated and treated sooner will result in more conservative options and, when surgery is your best option, a more straightforward recovery. Contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider to have your bunions evaluated and the best course of treatment recommended.
Do bunion pads work?
Bunion pads are designed to cushion the pressure of the bump on the side of your great toe joint against a shoe. There are many types of bunion pads available in the pharmacy foot care aisle, in catalogs, and online. All are designed to cushion the bunion against the side of shoes.
There are a variety of materials used to make bunion cushions. These include gel, foam, and felt. Some use an adhesive to stay on, others do not The pad that works best for my patients is a gel bunion cushion that uses a soft loop around the great toe.
Bunion cushions do not provide relief for everyone, but for those that find relief it helps to delay treatment with bunion surgery. If you have a painful bunion on your feet, contact Dr. Andrew Schneider for a comprehensive evaluation and recommendation for the best treatment for your condition.
How do you do bunion surgery?
Bunion surgery is often required to correct the rotation of the metatarsal bone. There are a number of ways a bunion can present, along with different levels of severity, there are different procedures that may be necessary.
Some bunions on feet are very minor, with the majority of the pain coming from the bump on the side of the great toe joint and minor bone movement. In this case, surgery involves shaving the bump and releasing the soft tissue around the great toe joint. Most bunions, however, require a more involved procedure.
The next stage of bunions requires the metatarsal bone to be repositioned with a surgical fracture called an osteotomy. This fracture is created at the head of the bone, secured with a surgical pin or screw, and is generally stable.
Severe bunion deformities require a more extensive surgery performed at the base of the metatarsal bone
The postoperative course differs depending on the type of surgery. After the more stable procedures, you can often bear weight immediately after surgery in a surgical shoe or boot. The more severe bunion procedures may require you to wear a cast and be on crutches for several weeks. For this reason, it is vital for you to get your bunion checked as soon as possible. As a bunion progresses, we lose options as to what procedure are suitable for your condition.
Houston bunion surgeon Dr. Andrew Schneider will be able to assess the severity of your bunion and tell you what the treatment options are. He will also give you a projected timeline so your bunion does not progress into the "danger zone" of a procedure with a long, difficult recovery. Contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists to schedule an appointment to have your bunion evaluated.
Can I wear high heels after bunion surgery?
One of the biggest concerns of women who have bunions on their feet and are considering bunion surgery is whether you will be able to wear high heels again after surgery. In most cases the answer is yes...and much more comfortably than before surgery! The realignment of the great toe joint will allow for greater motion and the position that a high heel forces you into will no longer cause the joint to jam.
There are cases, however, where the joint may have degenerated to the point where, even after surgery, there will continue to be limited mobility around the joint. There are also some procedures that may stiffen the great toe joint and limit mobility by design. These situations will limit the shoes and heel heights that may be comfortable for you.
Since every person, bunion, and foot surgery is different, it is important that you ask your Houston bunion surgeon what to expect after your surgery. Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider will review your case in detail and let you know what to expect after your surgery. Contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists to schedule an appointment to see what will be the best treatment option for you.