Surgery to treat bunions is often used for more severe cases, or after conservative methods have failed. There are several different surgical options available, depending on the cause and symptoms of the bunion.
The most common surgical procedure for bunions is a bunionectomy, which includes:
- Removing the swollen tissue from the big toe joint
- Removing part of the bone to straighten the big toe
- Permanently joining the bones of the big toe joint
Most bunion procedures are performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia. General anesthesia may be used in certain situations depending on the complexity of the procedure and the preference of the patient. Complications from these procedures are rare but may include infection, recurring bunion or nerve damage. While these procedures can be beneficial, they are usually only recommended for patients with bunions that cause severe pain. There is also a chance that a bunion may form again after surgery. Patients with realistic expectations are usually satisfied with the results of their surgery.
Treatment for hammertoes depends on the severity of the condition, but may home remedies, anti-inflammatory medications, orthotics or surgery for severe cases. Surgery involves removing a small section of bone from the affected joint through a procedure called arthroplasty. Arthrodesis may also be performed to treat hammertoes, which involves fusing together one of the joints in the toe in order to keep it straight. This procedure requires the use of a metal pin to hold the toe in position while it heals.
Treatment for these structural abnormalities depends on the type and severity of the condition, but may include changing shoes, wearing orthotics, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy. Surgery for severe cases may involve removing or reshaping a bone or bone spur, or fusing one or more bones in the foot together.