How Bad is My Bunion?: How doctors judge bunion severity

Updated 8/21/2018
Kristen discusses her bunion surgery and shares before and after pictures.

Are all bunions the same? No. Some people have a small bump and no pain, others a large bump, arch loss, deviation of the toes, chronic foot or calf pain.

 

We're at the forefront of bunion treatment and correction, but avoiding surgery whenever possible.

 

We pride ourselves on educating patients about their foot condition and providing truly individualized treatment options.

 

With the highest success rates in the country, our patients experience a safer, shorter and significantly less painful recovery. It's what we are known for.

Bunions are Categorized as Mild, Moderate or Severe. Below are Treatment Options for Each Category.

 

Mild Bunion Treatment

 

Bunion Treatment and Surgery Los Angeles
Mild bunion deformity

Technically, you can only “fix a bunion” with surgery, but many patients don't need it to get symptom relief. In its early stages, the progression of the bunion deformity can often be dramatically slowed. Removing pressure from the bunion area and balancing the tendon and ligament alignment are the primary goals of mild bunion treatment. For example, it is important to wear shoes that have sufficient room in the toe area to accommodate the bunion ─ that means softer leather shoes to mold to the deformity and platform type heels for better foot and arch support.

 

Your doctor may also advise the use of pads to protect the bunion from shoe pressure. Customized shoe inserts, called orthotics are made exclusively for your foot and are often used to correct the alignment of the arch and big toe joint. In some cases, physicians also use anti-inflammatory creams around the bunion.

 

Read about UFAI manufactured custom orthotics.

 

 
Moderate Bunion Treatment

 

Bunion Surgeon Los Angeles
Moderate bunion deformity

A bunion is considered moderate when it pushes against the second toe. In fact, over time, the big toe can force itself under the second toe, causing it to buckle and form a "hammer toe."

 

If non-invasive treatment is not effective, and the joint is still causing discomfort, the doctor may suggest a bunionectomy to realign the big toe. With this procedure, the bunion head is moved over realigning the angled great toe joint back to a normal position. The tendons and ligaments are also balanced for a more normal pull on the toe.

 

In moderate bunion cases, you will experience a relatively rapid recovery. The procedure allows for immediate weight on the foot in a boot and return to tennis shoes in about a month. The choice of procedure best for each patient depends on the deformity size, the stiffness of the 1st metatarsal and the ease of realignment of the 1st metatarsal during the clinical exam.

 

Learn about the different bunion surgeries performed by UFAI's bunion specialists.

 

 

Severe Bunion Treatment

 

Bunion Surgery Los Angeles, Univeristy Foot and Ankle Institute
Severe bunion deformity

In severe hallux valgus bunion cases, the first long bone (metatarsal) in the foot dramatically shifts away from the second metatarsal, resulting in looseness and a large deformity.

In severe bunion corrections, a surgery known as the Lapidus procedure realigns the first metatarsal into its natural position. Using screws, the surgery holds the bone stable so it does not shift again and reduces the change of the bunion returning to basically none.

 

Surgery may also involve removing the enlarged portion of the bunion region, cutting and realigning the bone, and correcting the position of the tendons and ligaments.

 

By using a special plate with Lapidus procedures, our patients are able to put weight on their foot after only 2-3 weeks, rather than the typical 6-8 weeks.

 

UFAI patient Barbara shares how bunion surgery has changed her life.

 

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