Bunion Surgery in New York
The foot is made up of five long bones called metatarsals, which run from the tips of the toes to the back of the heel. A bunion is a swollen, bony bump that grows out of the first metatarsal and forms on the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, or rather the joint at the base of the big toe. In severe cases, the bunion forces the big toe to lie overtop or underneath the other four toes. Government statistics indicate that 4.4 million Americans report suffering from a bunion, making it the most common foot condition treated by podiatrists today.
Causes of Bunions
Bunions form when the big toe rubs against the second toe, usually due to an imbalanced distribution of weight on the foot. This instability causes the bone and tissue of the MTP joint and metatarsals to shift. The first metatarsal deviates away from the other metatarsal bones, and the big toe begins to lean into the smaller toes. As a result, a sensitive, painful bone outgrowth develops on the MTP joint.
It takes years of abnormal foot movement and joint pressure to develop a bunion deformity. While many blame ill-fitting shoes for bunion development, research shows that inherited foot structure and sustained stress on the foot are more likely to cause bunions.
Shoes with fitted toe boxes don’t cause bunions, but they do aggravate them. Women who wear high heels and men who wear tight leather shoes can make a relatively small bunion much worse over time.
Since bunion growth involves the unnatural pulling and reshaping of ligaments, it can become very painful in its more advanced stages. Typical symptoms of bunion growth include:
- A red bump on the side of the big toe
- Thickened skin on MTP joint
- Callouses where toes overlap
- Intermittent pain when putting weight on the big toe
- Restricted movement of the big and second toes
- Difficulty finding shoes that fit or don’t cause pain
In addition to the regular symptoms, bunions also carry a number of potential complications. One common complication is hammertoe, or an unnatural, painful bend that occurs in the middle joint of the second toe. In other cases, a patient’s bunion will develop a sack of fluid called a bursa. This fluid is designed to protect the MTP joint from chafing, but can often become inflamed and develop into bursitis. Lastly, people with bunions risk developing metatarsalgia, or inflammation in the ball of the foot.
Bunion treatment varies depending on the severity of the bunion’s development. For bunions in the early stages of development, patients can administer at-home remedies. Avoiding painful shoes and adding cushions to ease pressure on the bone can slow the progression of the bunion.
When at-home measures fail, patients can opt for bunion surgery, or a bunionectomy. This procedure removes the bone growth causing the bunion. Most bunionectomies also involve osteotomy, or the realignment of the first metatarsal, because “shaving the bump” tends to speed bunion growth. This procedure will cut the first metatarsal and shift it back to its original position, alleviating stress and pain on the big toe.
- Bunion: Red, swollen bump that forms at the side of the big toe
- Bunionectomy: Surgery that removes bunion growth
- Bursa: Fluid sack that forms on the bunion to cushion the bone
- Bursitis: Inflammation and infection of the bursa
- Hammertoe: Deformity of the middle joint in the second toe
- Metatarsal: Long bones that form the foot
- Metatarsalgia: Pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot
- Osteotomy: Surgery that cuts and realigns the metatarsal bones
Why Choose Downtown NYC Foot Care?
Our physicians are available 24/7 to help patients receive treatment and recover from surgery. Dr. Richard Loninger, DPM serves as our primary podiatrist specialized in bunion surgery and treatment. A member of the prestigious foot care group Family Foot Care, Dr. Loninger has distinguished himself as a professional with an advanced knowledge of podiatry. He performs over 1,000 surgeries per year, and employs minimally invasive techniques to get the best results for each one. Patients who choose Downtown NYC Foot Care to perform their heel or bunion surgeries can rest assured that they are receiving excellent treatment from a distinguished professional.