How is bunion operated?

UPDATED: October 30, 2021

Most bunion operations combine several of the following interventions:

  • Bone remodelling osteotomy- This procedure straightens the toe ray.
  • Soft tissue correction: Correcting the joint capsule can straighten out a fixed deformity.
  • Tendon correction: The tendon length must be corrected so that the tendon pull does not deform the big toe again.
  • Treatment of the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe: In some cases, a joint-preserving cheilectomy I.e, removal of the bone spurs or, in the case of severe osteoarthritis, a stiffening of the metatarsophalangeal joint arthrodesis is necessary.

Only when all conservative treatment options for foot bunion surgery have been exhausted does the orthopaedic surgeon think of an operation. One of the long-term consequences of a bunion is osteoarthritis of the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe. This sometimes also restricts the movement of the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe. To correct a bunion, several proven surgical techniques are available, from which one can choose in each case.

Correcting the position of the big toe and the metatarsophalangeal joint always accompanies interventions on the soft tissues muscles, capsules and tendons.

The different techniques depend on the degree of the existing hallux valgus deformity. The decisive factor is the intermetatarsal angle, i.e. the angle between the 1st and 2nd metatarsal rays or bones. The surgical methods of hallux valgus affect different anatomical areas of the foot.

In the first few weeks after the procedure, the foot must be kept stable. For this purpose, bandages or an additional splint are put on. In addition, a special shoe is worn that relieves the forefoot. You can carefully put weight on your foot immediately after the operation, but you should not walk a lot in the first week and keep the foot elevated regularly to prevent swelling. If the swelling is severe, lymphatic drainage is sometimes offered. How much the foot can be stressed depends on what exactly was operated on and how severe the pain is. Since you have only limited resilience in the first time after the operation, some people need support at home, for example with housework or shopping. Among other things, there is the possibility of organizing a nursing service for this time.

When the wound has healed sufficiently, toe exercises can begin. After an operation, it takes about 4 to 6 weeks for the bones to be stable enough to fully load the foot again. In the first year after the procedure, the foot swells more easily. How exactly the follow-up treatment looks like also depends on how the operation was carried out.

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