Bunion deformity of the foot can easily be self-diagnosed, if the great toe deviates laterally toward the small toe, greater than about 15 degrees. Small deformities present only a mild cosmetic alteration to the foot. To avoid irritation, proper shoe size and style selection deals with the deformity. With major deformity, unfortunately, no shoe seems to fit well. The foot is often achy and fatigued by the end of the day. Additionally, the medial sided bump can be outright painful. The skin can erode from pressure.
A normal, well-aligned great toe is responsible for 50 percent of the foot’s total weight bearing. When a bunion deformity exists, the other four toes take on an increased share of weight bearing. This causes increased pain under the ball of the foot. A bunion deformity can be corrected surgically by realigning the bones in the foot. The goal is a more natural distribution of weight bearing across the foot and improved shoe fitting.
The surgery can be performed on a day surgery basis (when a patient is discharged the same day – no need to stay in the hospital). Immediate partial weight bearing is typically allowed. Recovery does require initial strict elevation, and a series of regular office visits for dressing changes. For the properly selected patient, the outcome is usually very satisfactory. Some increased stiffness in the great toe can be noted, but is offset by improved comfort.