A bunion (hallux valgus) is a bony enlargement at the base of the big toe which can cause pain and discomfort. Bunions can be a result of wearing tight fitting, confining shoes or in some cases a family history. Bunions are more commonly experienced by women.
There are a number of non-surgical treatments for bunions including medication, orthotics or wearing comfortable footwear.
If non-surgical treatments are unsuccessful the surgeon may recommend a bunion surgery.
- Preparing for Procedure
Before your surgery, you may need imaging tests. These may include X-rays, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
It is important for patients to be in the best possible overall health prior to surgery.
Patients and their Healthcare team can take several actions before and after surgery to reduce the risks of complications.
Medication - Patients should inform their surgeon of what medication they are on. The surgeon will review and decide if any of these need to be stopped before the procedure.
Diet - In the weeks before surgery eat a balanced diet as this can help the healing process.
Smoking - To reduce the risk of infection, patients who smoke will be asked to stop smoking for 1 month before and after the operation.
Blood Clots - To reduce the risk of developing a blood clot in the legs or lungs, a number of recommendations will be given to patients in advance of surgery.
Infection - For patients who have signs or symptoms of an infection, such as a chest or urinary infection in the days prior to surgery, the surgeon should be informed. The surgeon will also need to be advised of a rash or flare up of psoriasis or eczema around the hip area or a leg ulcer. For patients who have a history of MRSA/VRE or have been in contact with someone with MRSA/VRE, the Healthcare team should be informed.
Exercise - It is important to be as fit as possible before the procedure, as it will make recovery much faster.
- The Procedure
The surgeon and Anaesthetist will discuss the options for anaesthesia with the patient, as well as the risks and benefits associated with each.
There are different types of bunion surgery depending on the severity of your bunion. These include the removal of the protruding bone or in more severe cases the bone can be broken and the toe realigned into the correct position. The surgeon will decide the type of surgery that suits a patient’s individual need.
The majority of patients have this procedure as a day case and will return home the same day.
- Following the Procedure
- After surgery, patients will stay in the recovery room for 1-2 hours before being discharged home.
- After the procedure the patient’s leg will likely be elevated to keep it from moving.
- It is to be expected that there will be some pain and discomfort after surgery. Patients will be given pain medication in hospital and will be sent home with a prescription for pain medication.
- Patients should organise for someone to drive them home from the hospital and stay with them for at least the first night.
- After their surgery, patients will likely need to wear a surgical foot or boot and use crutches for 4-6 weeks. Your surgeon will provide instructions about your recovery and rehabilitation.
- Patients will be given an appointment to attend the dressing clinic 2 weeks after surgery.
- Patients will be given an appointment to attend their surgeon 4-6 weeks post-op.
- Patients may typically require a follow-up x-ray.