A bunion, also called hallux valgus, is a deformity or bump that develops on the base of the great toe. Bunions are typically caused by ill-fitting shoes, however, they may also have a genetic component. People who have degenerative joint diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis may also be at a higher risk.
Bunions often cause pain, inflammation, redness, and limited mobility of the big toe, as well as a lump near the metatarsophalangeal joint. While things like taking anti-inflammatory medications, wearing comfortable shoes, and using bunion pads can help relieve your symptoms, these interventions are only temporary. Because of this, bunion surgery is often the recommended treatment of choice. Here are some things to expect before and after your bunion surgery.
Before Your Surgery
Prior to your bunion surgery, your surgeon will take a complete oral medical history from you and perform a comprehensive physical examination. A chest x-ray, complete blood count, and a routine blood chemistry profile test may also be ordered prior to your surgery date to help make sure that you are healthy enough to undergo the procedure.
You will also be asked to avoid eating and drinking after midnight on the day of your surgery if you are going to receive a general anesthetic. This is to reduce the risk of aspirating food or liquid into your lungs while you are asleep. If your doctor will be performing your surgery with a local anesthetic, fasting after midnight will not be necessary because you will be awake during your procedure. You will also be given a pre-operative sedative to help you relax prior to your surgery.
After Your Surgery
Following your bunion surgery, you will be taken to a room where you will recover. Your vital signs and the circulation in your foot will be monitored, and once you are in stable condition, you will be discharged to go home. The time you spend in the recovery room may depend upon the type of anesthesia that was used.
If you had general anesthesia, your stay in the recovery room may be extended. Prior to discharge, you will be given an instruction sheet on how to care for your foot once you get home, and you may also be discharged wearing a cast or special shoe on your foot. Your surgeon may also recommend physical therapy to help promote optimal healing. You will also need to have someone pick you up from the hospital or surgical center because you will be unable to drive yourself home following your surgery.
If you have any of the above signs and symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor to determine if you have a bunion and to see if you are a candidate for surgery. Once your bunion has been successfully treated, you will be able to perform your routine activities symptom-free.