Elective Bunion Surgery: To Do or Not To Do

Many individuals who suffer from bunions desire relief from the symptoms and embarrassment that come with bunions. However, because bunion surgery is considered elective surgery, meaning that it is not deemed medically necessary, there are several factors that you should consider before taking the plunge into surgery.

How Do I Know I Have Bunions?

A large protrusion most often identifies bunions on the foot joint under the big toe. They are usually caused or aggravated by uncomfortable or incorrectly fitting footwear and can also occur on the joint just below the little toe. Bunions are often painful and do not generally go away on their own. While at-home remedies such as rest and ice can help alleviate the pain, some individuals consider surgery a one-and-done fix for bunions. While bunions can return after surgery, this elective procedure is the only way actually to remove bunions.

What Should I Consider Before Bunion Surgery?

At Best Foot Doctor, we work with patients frequently that are tired of their bunions and want to have them removed. Below are six questions that we ask them to consider before choosing to pursue bunion removal surgery.

  • How much pain do I have, on a scale of 1-10?

For surgery to be a viable option for you, the pain that your bunions cause should be higher than a three on a scale of 1-10. Honestly assess the intensity of the pain you feel and realize that a “low” pain score means that elective bunion surgery may not be necessary in your case.

  • How old am I?

Bunion surgery is not recommended for individuals under 18 years old, as this can have adverse effects on bodies that have not fully developed. However, if you are over 18, you may consider surgery as an option for relief from bunions.

  • How active am I?

 If you are consistently active, such as being a frequent runner or participating in sports, and bunions are in constant pain, surgery might be the answer you are seeking. However, if you are active on only a limited basis and bunions are not heavily interfering with your daily activities, it may be wise to forgo surgery in favor of following a pain management and prevention treatment system with your podiatrist.

  • Am I aesthetically uncomfortable? 

Is the reason you are seeking surgery to improve the look of your feet? For example, suppose your bunion pain does not heavily interfere with daily life, but you are uncomfortable with the appearance of your feet. In that case, you may consider surgery to relieve the mental stress of less-than-pleasing foot aesthetics.

  • Do I have any significant medical conditions that would interfere with surgery? 

Bunion surgery is generally considered safe unless you have a peripheral vascular disease or uncontrolled diabetes

  • Are you ready to wear a surgical shoe for five weeks? 

After your surgery, you will be required to wear a surgical shoe for a minimum of five weeks. The shoe can drastically interfere with daily life and hamper your mobility. You should consider and contrast the repercussions of losing mobility for this length of time, balanced with the amount of interference you currently have from bunions. Another valid consideration is if your employer will allow you to continue work for the amount of time you’ll be wearing the boot or if you will need to take a leave of absence for it.

If you would like to consult with a foot specialist about seeking bunion surgery and are in the NYC area, Best Foot Doctor would be happy to help. Please give our offices servicing Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan a call to schedule an appointment today.

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