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BUNIONS

What is a Bunion?

A bunion is a a deformity of the big toe.  It forms at the base of your big toe as the toe drifts into the 2nd toe and the inside of the joint sticks out and becomes inflamed causing even more enlargement of the bony bump.

Causes

Major causes of bunion deformities are: Genetics, ill-fitting shoes, and traumatic arthritis.

 

The deformity happens because certain tendons, ligaments and other structures of the big toe joint, also called the metatarsal phalangeal joint, become weakened, or out of position due to forces and stresses placed on these structures.  The pressures cause the toe to "drift" and thereby exaggerating the bunion deformity.

Treatments

There are many treatments which focus on non-surgical options.  However, many times surgery is the best option for long term success and removal of the deformity.

 

There are over dozens of different types of procedures available to perform on bunions.  The physicians at Achy Bunions are skilled surgeons who can apply the proper procedure based on the type of deformity you have.

What to expect after your procedure

You had surgery to repair a bunion. The surgeon made an incision (cut) in your skin to expose your big toe joint and bones. Your surgeon then repaired your deformed toe. You may have screws or wires holding your toe joint together.

at Home

You will likely have swelling in your foot. Keep your leg propped up on 1 or 2 pillows under your foot or calf muscle when you are sitting or lying down to reduce swelling. Swelling may last 9 - 12 months. Do not stand, or sit with your feet down for greater than 30-45 minutes at a time, for the first 2 weeks. Try not to cross your legs, as this increases swelling.

 

Do deep breathing exercises for the first three days after surgery, ten times per hour while awake.

 

Drink plenty of fluids if you have had anesthesia, and advance diet as tolerated.

Wound Care

Keep the dressing around your incision clean and dry until it is removed. Take sponge baths or cover your foot and dressing with a plastic bag when you take showers. Make sure water cannot leak into the bag.  Keep the bandage clean and dry.

 

Bathe by getting into an empty tub, prop foot over the edge, fill tub, take a bath, drain tub, get out after tub is empty.

 

Do not change your bandage, call your doctor if it gets wet or it seems too tight. Some bleeding is normal. Keep shoe on at all times, unless told differently by your doctor. At home, a watertight bag of crushed ice wrapped in a towel may be used on your foot (20 minutes on per hour).

Activity

Wear a surgical shoe night and day for 2 weeks.  On some occasions you may need to continue wearing this shoe for up to 6 weeks. Using this special shoe or cast will keep your foot in the correct position as it heals.

 

You may begin walking on the 2 nd day after surgery and gradually increase. Short walks with rest periods are best, to decrease swelling. You will need to do exercises that will strengthen the muscles around your ankle and keep your range of motion in your foot.

 

Move big toe joint up and down increasingly after the third post-op day.

 

If able, bicycle in the air 3 times a day for the first three days after surgery.

 

Fainting may occur after surgery. When arising, stand by bed of chair for a minute.

Pain

Your doctor will give you a prescription for pain medicine. Get it filled when you go home so you have it when you need it. Take your pain medicine before you start having pain. Waiting too long to take it will allow your pain to get worse than it should.

 

Taking ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or another anti-inflammatory medicine may also help.

 

Do not drink alcohol or drive while on pain medication.

 

Store pain medications carefully away from babies, teenagers and pets. When you no longer need the pain medication, return unused portion to a pharmacy or hospital for medical waste incineration, or check www.MedicationDisposal.utah.gov for other disposal sites. Please do not flush them into the groundwater.

 

You may take ibuprofen three times a day with food to supplement your prescription pain pills. Watch for stomach bleeding, black coffee ground or tarry stool.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse if:

  • Your dressing becomes loose, comes off, or gets wet
  • You have fever or chills
  • Your foot around the incision is warm or red
  • Your incision is bleeding
  • Your pain does go away after you take pain medicine
  • You have swelling, pain, and redness in your calf muscle
  • Your foot becomes cold to the touch, tingly, numb, or blue

 

Call 911 for chest pain, difficulty breathing, excessive sleepiness, pain in the back of your legs, or uncontrolled surgical pain, or go to the nearest emergency room.

Follow-up with the Doctor

You will need to discuss follow-up appointments with your podiatrist. They will want to see you from 4-7 days after surgery to check healing, and about a week later to remove stitches.

 

If you have any questions please call your surgeon at Summit Foot & Ankle Specialists at 801-253- 6886

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