Davis states that there are a number of misconceptions about bunion surgery.
1) Bunion surgery involves a lot of time off the foot or off work.
Most bunion surgery today is performed as an outpatient, either at an outpatient surgery center or the outpatient department of a hospital. Re-alignment of the big toe joint is reinforced by special screws that allow immediate ambulation with a surgical shoe. Patients may return to occupations that involve primarily seated work within days. Early return to modified activity can often speed the healing process in a large percentage of cases.
2) Bunion surgery is painful.
No pain is experienced during bunion surgery as anesthesia is used, which may involve sedation or general anesthesia. New ultra long acting local anesthetics are available that ensure that there is minimal discomfort when anesthesia ends and for up to 3 days after.
3) Bunion surgery should be performed only if a bunion is painful.
Pain around the big toe joint is one reason to consider a bunionectomy. Another reason is that the big toe will often drift toward the second toe, often deforming it or creating a hammertoe. A big toe joint that is not straight or is misaligned can cause wear and tear of the joint surfaces or cartilage, causing an arthritic condition of the big toe joint termed "hallux rigidus."
4) There are bunion surgeries that are advertised as being easier than others or better than others.
The fact is that there are over 30 different types of bunionectomies and technique variations. Different procedures and techniques work best for different patients. It is important to choose a podiatric surgeon who is familiar with and proficient with as many techniques as possible so that the optimal procedure is used.
5) Painful, stiff big toe joints, or hallux rigidus, may require fusion of the big toe joint.
The big toe joint was designed to move, to provide balance and to provide propulsion (forward motion). Considering the excellent big toe joint implants available today, fusion of the big toe joint is rarely necessary.
It is best to learn about the latest techniques and consult a podiatric surgeon who has the experience to offer a wide range of options.
Dr. Davis can be reached at 210-490-3668 or http://www.
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