Do I need bunion surgery?
Dr. Aprajita Nakra is a podiatrist in Gilbert and president of the Arizona Podiatric Medical Association. She practices medicine at Banner Desert Medical Center
Question: I have bunions, but how do I know if I need surgery?
Answer: Bunions, which usually develop on the inner side of the foot near the base of the first toe, do not go away on their own and almost always require surgery to remove if symptomatic.
If you have no trouble putting on shoes, walking or exercising, you might be able to live with your bunions without having surgery.
However, if your bunions are swollen or are causing you pain during daily activities, then you should consult with your podiatrist to decide together if surgery is best for you. Podiatrists receive extensive training in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of foot and ankle disorders by medical and surgical care; therefore, a podiatrist can diagnose and surgically remove the bunion, requiring no additional specialist.
Surgery is typically an outpatient procedure with local anesthesia and takes less than two hours total. Your podiatrist will make a cut along the bones of the big toe and then repair the deformed joint /bones using a pin for stabilization.
After surgery, your podiatrist will probably recommend staying off your feet for a couple of days and, once you return to work, keeping the foot propped up and protected from pressure, weight and injury for a couple of weeks. The goal is to restore normal, pain-free walking, exercising and other daily activities that require you to be on your feet so carefully following your doctor’s orders is important.