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3 Warning Signs It's Time to Consider Surgery for Your Bunion

Aug 08, 2023
3 Warning Signs It's Time to Consider Surgery for Your Bunion
If you have a bunion, it’s understandable that you might want to try other treatments before resorting to surgery. But surgery might be your best option in some cases.

bunion is a bony protrusion that develops on the base of the big toe. This deformity occurs from years of pressure on the big toe joint, causing it to enlarge as your big toe pushes in toward your other toes. As many as one-third of Americans have bunions.

Bunions can cause pain, swelling, and discomfort and change your gait and posture, depending on the severity of the bunion. 

There are various options to treat a bunion, including surgery. Most patients don’t want to jump straight to surgery, though, so they need to know when it’s the best option.

At Austin Foot & Ankle Institute, Dr. Pedro Cosculluela and Dr. Andrew Ebert are bunion experts. Here they share three signs it’s time to consider surgery for your bunion.

1. More conservative treatments haven’t worked

Nonsurgical treatments are the first line of defense for bunions. These can include:

  • Shoes with a wider toe box
  • Bunion pads to cushion the toe
  • Custom orthotics to correct alignment issues
  • Physical therapy to reduce inflammation, strengthen muscles around the bunion
  • Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers
  • Steroid injections

If your bunion doesn’t respond to these treatments or gets worse, it’s time to consider surgery.

2. You’re dealing with additional foot problems

Bunions don’t get better on their own, and they can lead to additional foot problems. As your big toe drifts toward your other toes, it can become more difficult to bend and straighten.

Bunions can also lead to hammertoes in your other toes (they bend at the middle joint), bursitis (a painful, fluid-filled sac that develops around your joint), bone spurs, and osteoarthritis.

If you’re noticing additional foot issues because of your bunion, it may be time for surgical intervention.

3. The pain affects your everyday life

If you’re avoiding hobbies and other activities because it hurts too much to walk, it’s time to consider bunion surgery. In such cases, surgery doesn’t just restore your mobility — it restores your ability to enjoy life to the fullest.

If you choose bunion surgery, or a bunionectomy, Dr. Cosculluela or Dr. Ebert removes the bunion, realigns the bones in your toe, and stabilizes them with a screw. You use a walking boot after the procedure and can wear shoes again in 2-3 weeks.

If you’re considering bunion surgery, the team at Austin Foot & Ankle Institute is here to help. Call us at one of our three locations in Austin and Cedar Park, Texas, or request your appointment online.