Bunion Treatment & Bunion Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions

Bunion and Bunion Surgery FAQs

 
Q: Is surgery the only way to fix a bunion?

 

Technically, you can only “fix a bunion” with surgery, but that does not mean that everyone needs surgery to get symptom relief. Conservative treatment can be very beneficial for some patients and, as a rule, our Los Angeles bunion specialists pride themselves on creating an individualized treatment plan for each of our patients, based on their physical condition and personal lifestyle.

 


Q: Am I a candidate for bunion removal surgery?

 

Not everyone is a good candidate for a bunionectomy, and if a bunion is in its early stages, which we hope it is, we will want to consider less-invasive treatments. We want to avoid surgery whenever possible. Since bunions tend to worsen with time, early treatment is the best medicine.

 


Q: Will I be able to walk right away after a bunionectomy?

 

You should be able to bear weight with the aid of a protective boot immediately after your bunionectomy. Some patients require crutches to aid them in walking for the first few days. Only the most severe bunion cases that require more comprehensive surgery require time off the foot. Even in those cases, our doctors have shortened the typical time off the foot to only 2-3 weeks rather than 6-8 weeks. We will let you know when you can resume walking and other normal activities because we will be seeing you during your entire recovery.

 


Q: Will my bunion come back after surgery?

 

Bunionectomy is a very effective treatment in that it removes the bunion, relieving the pain and discomfort it can cause when walking and performing other activities. However, proper foot-care after surgery is essential to prevent bunions from coming back. After we correct your bunion issue it is important to avoid the same things that helped cause the problem in the first place. We know it can be difficult for some patients to avoid wearing high heels and other improper footwear, but it is more important for you to never suffer from bunions again. As you recover we may suggest the use of corrective orthotics.

 


Q: Will I be under anesthesia during surgery?

 

Usually not general anesthesia, but a mild sedation helps you stay calm and immobile. Bunion specialists at University Foot and Ankle Institute perform most surgeries with IV sedation.

 


Q: Bunion surgery recovery: how much pain will I experience after my bunionectomy?

 

While patients do experience some pain after a bunionectomy, over the counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories are often all you need for effective relief. University Foot and Ankle Institute is at the forefront of research on pain control following bunion surgery. From long acting local anesthetics to creams that control swelling and pain, our emphasis is on “no pain” after surgery.

 

 

Q: I am from out of state. I need a bunionectomy and want it performed at UFAI. How long will I need to stay in Southern California post-op?

 

Minimum stay is 5 days if sutures can be removed by a local doctor. (We usually can coordinate this.) If we are going to removed sutures you will need to day two weeks.

 

We often need additional info to make sure your bunion type fits with the right procedure. This is best done through a virtual consultation.

 

 

Q. With regards to the Lapidus bunionectomy, do the doctors at UFAI use a titanium plate and 2 screws in the midfoot?

We use a new staple and plate system from Crossroads that is stronger and better than the regular screw and plate system. We place 2 staples and a plate with 2 screws during a Lapidus.

 

 

Q: I read about a minimally invasive bunion procedure that removes the bunion by simply shaving down the bone. They claim it results in a faster recovery and no scarring. Is bone shaving an effective option for bunion removal?

 

Unfortunately it is not a good option for most people because you are not realigning the bone, so you are not correcting the core problem. The end result is the bunion will most likely return and then need to have surgery again. We know this first-hand since about 20% of our bunion surgeries are correcting other’s work and we have repaired our fair of these of these procedures as have many of our colleagues.

 

Fortunately permanent bunion correction surgery with minimal or no scarring is done by us all the time with immediate weight-bearing with an essentially painless recovery.

 

 

Q. I think my child may have a bunion. At what age can you diagnose a bunion? And is bunion surgery ever recommended for children?

 

We can diagnose a bunion in a child as young as three or four years of age. If surgery is required, we usually hold off until they are thirteen or fourteen, when the growth plate in the foot has completely closed. The recommended procedure for our pediatric bunion patients is most often the Lapidus Bunionectomy.

 

 

Q. I have a mild case of bunions on both feet. Can you perform surgery on both feet at the same time?

 

We can perform surgery on both and the same time but prefer to do the feet two weeks apart. This allows the first to foot to heal for a couple weeks and make sure all is well prior to doing the second foot.

 

 

Q. I just had bunion surgery. Is there anything I can put on the incision to help it heal and make it less visible?

 

We recommend silicone gel sheets, vitamin E cream and Mederma. All of these products can improve the cosmetic outcome of surgical incisions.

 

 

Q. I have a plantar plate tear affecting my 2nd and 3rd toes. I also have a bunion on same foot. I can't have the surgery for 4 months and I am worried that waiting may be detrimental to it's success. Your website gives me hope, your thoughts?

 

You should be alright waiting but you must make sure the person who performs your surgery is well versed on plantar plate repair and the bunion type is done to your specific need. There are 44 variations of bunion surgery and research has proven that no one bunion procedure works for everyone.

 

 

Q. I had low back fusion surgery and was told because of my back issues that bunion surgery is not an option for me...is this true?

 

No, this is not true at all. If anything, stabilizing the foot through bunion surgery decreases stress on the back.

 


View our patients' bunion surgery before and after photos.

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