Bunion Treatment & Hammertoe Treatment in Santa Rosa, CA
Bunions are abnormal bony bumps that form at the base of the big toe. They can make wearing shoes a painful experience, or they can create chronic pain. We treat bunions at Redwood Orthopaedic Surgery Associates.
What is a Bunion?
Bunions and hammertoes are common conditions that cause physical deformities in the feet as a result of muscle disorders, injury, arthritis, abnormal walking habits or other factors. Bunions form on the joint at the base of your big toe. A bunion forms when your bit toe pushes inward against your next toe. This forces the joint of the big toe to become enlarged and to stick out. This leads to swelling and pain.
A hammertoe refers to a crooked, deviated or contracted toe, as well as an abnormal “v”-shaped bending of the little toes.
If you have a bunion or hammertoe that is painful, contact our office in Santa Rosa CA today to schedule a consultation.
What causes bunions?
Why some people develop bunions while others don’t is somewhat of a mystery. It is thought that these factors play a part:
- Inherited foot anatomy
- Foot injuries
- Deformities from birth (congenital)
It would seem that wearing tight, narrow, high-heeled shoes would have a direct correlation, but research hasn’t shown a clear cause and effect. If these types of shoes don’t cause the condition that allows a bunion to form, they contribute to their development.
Bunions may also be associated with inflammatory types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
What are the symptoms of a bunion?
Bunions are pretty obvious when they form. This is what to look for or expect:
- A bulging bump on the outside of the base of your big toe
- Swelling, redness, or soreness around the big toe joint
- Corns or calluses where the first and second toe overlap
- Persistent or intermittent pain
- Restricted movement if arthritis is involved
How is a bunion diagnosed?
Your Redwood Orthopaedic doctor can instantly identify a bunion after examining your foot. An x-ray can help us identify the severity and possibly the cause.
How are bunions treated?
How we treat your bunion depends on its severity. Once the bunion has formed, it won’t return to normal position without surgery. Still, these conservative treatments are usually the first approach:
- Different shoes — Changing from tight shoes to shoes with more space around the toes helps.
- Padding, taping, splinting — Placing pads on the joint area can help. Your foot can also be taped in a normal position.
- Medications — Pain relief medications and corticosteroid injections can help.
- Shoe inserts — Padded inserts of orthotic devices can distribute pressure.
- Icing — Icing will relieve inflammation after you’ve been on your feet for a long time.
Who is a candidate to have bunion surgery?
Surgery isn’t usually recommended unless your bunion is causing you frequent or chronic pain, or if it is impeding your daily activities.
How is bunion surgery performed?
There are different methods we use at Redwood Orthopaedic Surgery Associates to correct bunions: bunionectomy, arthroplasty, or arthodesis. Metal screws, pins, or plates may be used to hold the toe in position while it heals. The goal is to correct the alignment of the joint so that the big toe no longer angles toward the other toes.
These surgical methods may be used:
- Straightening the big toe by removing part of the bone
- Removing the swollen tissue from around the big toe joint
- Realigning the long bone between the back part of your foot and your big toe to remove the abnormal angle in the joint
- Fusing the bones of the joint
Recovery from Bunion Surgery
Recovery from bunion surgery depends on the complexity of the procedure. Some people will be able to walk on their foot immediately after surgery, while others may need to use crutches or a cane and may not be able to walk for a few weeks or longer. It is important to keep your dressing clean and dry to ensure proper healing. Most patients require the use of orthotics after bunion surgery in order to maintain stability and correction and also to support the correction for the long term.
Most 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 bunion surgery are rare but may include infection, recurring bunion or nerve damage.
How long after bunion surgery can I resume normal activity?
There is no set timeframe for recovery after these foot surgeries. Obviously, the complexity of the surgery will dictate your recovery. Some patients can walk on their repaired foot almost immediately. Others will need crutches or a cane for a few weeks or even longer. Once we see your unique situation, your Redwood Orthopaedic surgeon will give you an estimate of what your recovery will likely entail. Most bunion surgery patients will require the use of orthotics moving forward. These will help maintain stability and correction for the long term.
If you believe you are in need of hammertoe or bunion treatment in Santa Rosa CA and surrounding areas, contact us at (707) 544-3400 or fill out our online contact form here to schedule a consultation.