Here at our Foot & Ankle Specialists of New Mexico – Albuquerque clinic, we treat bunions with our patients’ comfort in mind. While it’s true that surgery is the only way to “fix” bunions, relieving the symptoms can be tackled with more conservative and less invasive methods. For example, customized insoles and better-fitting footwear can slow the deformity process if caught in early stages.
Sometimes surgery is a necessity. In these cases, our highly-qualified surgeons can perform the procedure in our cutting-edge outpatient surgical center or in a hospital. The majority of patients see immediate results and few need much, if any, pain medication during recovery.
There are three classifications of bunions—mild, moderate, and severe bunions. The various treatment options depend on the severity.
Mild Bunion Treatment
Mild bunion treatment does not require surgery. This treatment focuses on eliminating pressure around the affected area and balancing the tendon and ligament alignment. This can be as simple as wearing footwear with extra space for the deformity as to reduce pressure on the bunion from tight shoes. Soft leather shoes, for example, can mold themselves around the bunion, decreasing the irritation. Likewise, wearing shoes with good arch support can be used as a mild treatment.
Sometimes we recommend pads to serve as a shield against the the shoe’s pressure or the use of an anti-inflammatory cream surrounding the affected area.
Moderate Bunion Treatment
Moderate bunions occur when misalignment of the big toe forces it against (or sometimes under) the second toe. Occasionally, this causes the second toe to bend abnormally, forming a “hammer toe.”
While patients may begin with conservative treatment, sometimes this will not reduce pain. In these cases, a bunionectomy can be performed in order to realign the toes. In this procedure, the big toe joint is moved over the bunion head and realigned to a normal position. By rebalancing the ligaments and tendons, a more natural pull on the big toe is produced.
Patients experience rapid recovery and can immediately put weight on the affected foot by using a special boot. After about a month, they can return to wearing tennis shoes.
Severe Bunion Treatment
Severe bunions occur when the metatarsal bone (first long bone) moves too far from the second. A large and noticeable deformity forms.
Severe bunion treatment involves a surgical Lapidus procedure. This procedure realigns the first metatarsal to its original position. The bone is stabilized using screws which will prevent it from another shift. This stops the bunion from reoccurring. Additionally, surgeons may remove the enlarged area of the bunion, realign and cut the bone, and realign ligament and tendon positions.
Previously, patients had to wait as long as six to eight weeks before putting weight on their foot. Thankfully, a special plate for the Lapidus procedure now allows most patients to put weight on their foot after only two to three weeks!
Why Choose Foot & Ankle Specialists of New Mexico – Albuquerque for Bunion Treatment?
Our bunion treatment methods are at the forefront of podiatric medicine. Between our treatment and physical therapy services, our patients are back on their feet quicker than ever. Usually we can help our patients without relying on invasive surgeries. No matter how serious your problem, our modern facilities and bunion specialists offer you a quick, safe, and happy recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bunion Treatment
Is surgery necessary for fixing bunions?
While technically surgery is the only way to “fix” a bunion, it is not always necessary to bring symptom relief. Conservative, non-surgical treatments are typically very effective for our patients. We put our patients first and are happy to develop customized treatment plans which consider your personal lifestyle and physical condition.
Should I have bunion surgery?
Not everyone needs or should rely on bunionectomies. For early stage bunions, mild treatments can often bring substantial pain relief. We avoid surgery when possible. Mild treatments rarely require recovery time and are more comfortable for patients.
As bunion discomfort and severity increases with time, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible
Suffering from bunions? Call us today at (505) 219-2940 to schedule a consultation.