My Bunion Is Getting Worse: Is It Time to Consider Surgery?

Do you have bunions? These bony lumps appear at the base of your big toe, often due to pressure on the wrong parts of your front foot. While a bunion may look like a growth, it’s actually a type of foot deformity.

Foot deformities often become serious issues requiring surgery to correct. 

In the early stages of foot deformities like bunions, conservative treatment measures may work to address the problem and restore the shape, form, and function of your affected foot. But if neglected, bunions tend to get worse.

At Town Center Foot & Ankle of Kingwood, Texas, we take bunions seriously. Not only do bunions get worse over time until you eventually need surgery, they can also cause chronic foot pain. It’s also much more likely for your feet to suffer from blisters, calluses, and corns.

Expert podiatrist and bunion specialist Dr. Stephen G. Eichelsdorfer — “Dr. Ike” to our patients — can help you understand what’s going on with your bunions. He tracks the progression of bunions, letting you know what conservative treatment options could help and advising you when it’s time to consider bunion surgery.

Appearance, causes, and complications of bunions

Bunions typically appear in a location above the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the outer base of your big toe. Bunions appear like a bony, rounded bulge, protruding from your forefoot.

The underlying structural issue producing the bulging bunion relates to the long metatarsal bone in your foot, which shifts inward, as well as the phalanx bones of your big toe, which start to angle toward your second toe as the bunion forms and progresses.

This type of foot deformity occurs due to pressure on your big toe joint, often related to poorly fit or tight-toed shoes. Other factors can make you more prone to developing bunions, including the natural shape of your foot, a history of foot injuries, or a family history of bunions.

Bunions aren’t always painful, but in some cases they definitely are. Large bunions also put you at risk of corns, calluses, and blisters, due to your increasingly misshapen forefoot rubbing against your shoes. 

Without the right treatment, bunions get worse, becoming bigger and more awkward to deal with. Severe bunions can cause inflammation and swelling, potentially limiting your mobility.

How bunion surgery can help

Bunion surgery reconstructs your forefoot, while removing the deformity of the bunion and any inflamed tissue. During your surgery, Dr. Ike also repositions the bones and tendons of your forefoot in the correct shape, so your foot heals without deformity after your procedure.

Not all bunions require surgery. You may be able to fully address the problem with more conservative treatment options, such as padding, taping, or custom orthotics. But at a certain point, surgery becomes your best option.

Your bunion treatment plan

Dr. Ike reviews your current condition and symptoms, and works with you to put together a plan to effectively treat your bunions. Advanced high-definition X-ray imaging available at Town Center Foot & Ankle gives Dr. Ike information about the severity of your bunion and the impact on your foot structure.

In most cases, Dr. Ike recommends trying conservative treatment options before deciding on surgery. If those treatments don’t do enough to address the issue, or if your bunion keeps getting worse, he may recommend surgical correction.

If you have bunions that are getting worse, get in touch with us at Town Center Foot & Ankle to learn more about your treatment options. Call now to schedule your consultation or request an appointment here.

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