A Foot to Stand On

Ending Foot Pain With Bunion Surgery Performed By A Podiatrist

by Grace Ortiz

Although a podiatrist is not a medical doctor, this healthcare professional has completed extensive education and training to qualify for the title of foot doctor. In addition to the broad range of noninvasive treatments they provide, podiatrists can perform certain kinds of surgeries on the feet and ankles. Bunion surgery on the big toe, medically known as the hallux, is just one example. 

About Bunions

The hallux joint starts to develop an abnormal growth when this toe chronically pushes on the one beside it. The pressure gradually forces the joint of the big toe outward. This change in bone structure is painful, especially when wearing shoes. The discomfort may be mild to moderate at first, but it can become severe if the bunion continues to grow. The deformity also is obvious when not wearing shoes, which may cause the person some embarrassment.

Bunions can occur because of regularly wearing shoes that are too tight at the toes. Arthritis is another potential cause. However, the genetic component is strong. The shape of the feet also is a risk factor. Some people simply are more likely to experience this problem than others are.

Bunion Surgery

The podiatrist decides the type of operation to perform based on how severe the deformity has become. This doctor might cut the joint and realign it. Another option is removing the abnormal bone growth, allowing the joint to naturally move back into place.


After the operation, patients generally feel moderate pain and experience some swelling for a few days. Keeping weight off the foot is required at first. The person might wear a walking boot and use a cane or crutch. 

Depending on the extent of the operation, the podiatrist may recommend physical therapy sessions. This speeds healing and helps the foot regain flexibility and strength. In other cases, the patient can follow a home foot exercise program. Full compliance is essential for success.

Eventually, the person can return to activities that had been avoided because of foot pain. Taking long walks, going dancing, and pedaling a bicycle are once again pleasant experiences.

Getting Started

Many people put off bunion surgery until the pain becomes debilitating. At first, they try managing the problem by wearing a splint or a foot wrap, but this typically is unsuccessful. It's important to avoid becoming sedentary due to foot pain, as that can lead to weight gain and health problems. Scheduling a consultation with a podiatrist can be the first step toward resolving the disorder.

Contact a local podiatrist to learn more about this surgery.