Bunions are a common problem and tend to get larger and more painful over time. Sometimes the pain is so bad, it can prevent you from doing normal, everyday things like walking. Bunions can also start to force your second toe out of place.
Non-surgical treatments that can help to ease the pain include:
However, if these haven’t helped and the pain is preventing you from living a normal life, surgery to remove your bunion could be the right option for you. It’s a relatively straightforward operation and for most people, the benefits of pain reduction are much higher than any potential disadvantages.
You will have a formal consultation with your Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests such as scans or blood tests are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
There are many different surgical procedures to remove a bunion, and your consultant will discuss which procedure is best for you, but one of the most common types is called an osteotomy – also known as a bunionectomy.
On the day of your operation, our ward staff will show you to your own private room. Your private room will have an en-suite bathroom and TV and Wi-Fi facilities.
Bunion removal is usually carried out under general anaesthesia, which means you will be asleep throughout the procedure, but sometimes local anaesthetic can also be used.
Bunionectomy surgery usually takes around 90 minutes, your surgeon will make a cut near your big toe to gain access to the bones in the joint.
Your surgeon may remove some bone and realign the joint, sometimes using small screws or wires to keep everything in place while you heal. These may be left in your foot or removed later, depending on the type of surgery. Afterwards your foot will either be bandaged tightly or put in a plaster cast for protection.
After bunion removal we will provide you with all the appropriate medication, physiotherapy exercises, advice on what you should and shouldn’t do, and any other follow-up support you need. Typically your consultant may want to see you after your treatment to see how you’re doing, in which case a follow up appointment will be made before you leave the hospital.
While you are in hospital a physiotherapist will help you with exercises that will help speed up your recovery.
Once you’re ready to be discharged from hospital, you’ll need to arrange for a friend or family member to take you home as you won’t be able to drive.
For guidance on pain relief and your recovery time, please see our patient information sections below.
Your foot will be sore after the operation and you may have some temporary bruising and swelling. We will give you pain relief medication while you’re with us and to take home with you.
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you’ve left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
Your consultant will advise you how to make your recovery as quick as possible but when you get home you’ll need to take things easy at first.
You may not be able to put your weight fully on the foot for six weeks, though you’ll probably be able to walk around on your heel. If you can’t do this, you may need to use crutches.
You will probably have to take some time off work – how much will depend on the kind of operation you have had and how much time you spend on your feet at work.
You probably won’t be able to wear normal shoes for up to six months because you will have a cast or a bandage on and your foot or ankle could be swollen for three months, possibly longer. When the cast or bandages come off you will be given postoperative shoes. These are specially designed to allow heel walking while protecting your foot.
We will arrange for a physiotherapist to visit you in your private room after your operation to give you advice on how to move around safely in your cast or bandage. You can also see the physiotherapist again after these have been removed.
Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still here when you need us.
If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery you can call and speak to a member of the nursing team at any time, please call 01424 757459.
Your surgery will be performed by your consultant surgeon.
On rare occasions, complications following surgery can occur.
The chance of complications depends on the exact operation you are having and other factors such as your general health.
Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.