What is a Bunion?

A bunion is a bony bump on the inside of your foot caused by a deformity of bone and soft tissue that occurs at the joint between the big toe, or hallux, and the first bone in the foot called the first metatarsal. The point where these two bones meet is called the MTP joint. Bunions are typically painful and may be unsightly.

Bunions are primarily inherited — meaning they run infamilies — and may be irritated or made worse by pressure from shoes. There are several techniques used to repair a bunion, but a common procedure used by our Beverly Hills podiatrists, a bunionectomy, removes the bunion and realigns the joint to relieve foot pain.

How Does a Bunion Form?

A variety of foot structure abnormalities that typically involve tendons and ligaments around the joint may cause the big toe to be gradually pulled towards the second toe. The head of the first metatarsal bone sticks out, resulting in a bunion that gets worse over time. The tendons or ligaments that pull on the toe incorrectly may become overstretched and weak or tight and thickened, and are often associated with swelling and pain. Additionally, a water tight sac, surrounding the joint, called the bursa, typically becomes swollen, resulting in a larger bump and increased tenderness.

Treatment Options: Bunionectomy

There are a variety of bunionectomy procedures, which generally include a combination of techniques to achieve the final result. Your La Peer podiatrist will find out which procedure and options are best for you based on your specific condition. In this case, we will discuss the bunionectomy procedure.

Bunionectomies can be performed at our Beverly Hills outpatient surgery center, where you will be permitted to go home the day of the surgery. While you are under anesthesia, your surgeon will make an incision on the top of your big toe or on the side of your foot to expose the MTP joint. The bump is removed first and, typically, a small wedge of bone is also removed from the 1st metatarsal in order to realign the joint. The bone is held in its new position with screws, pins or plates. Additionally, loose ligaments or tendons need to be shortened or tight tendons or ligaments need to be lengthened by cutting or repositioning of them.

For those that have had previous bunion surgery, any damaged portion of the joint may also need to be removed. Once all repairs and adjustments have been made, the incision will be closed with sutures and a bandage will be wrapped around your foot.

Typical recovery time from a bunionectomy is a few weeks. You may need to use crutches or a walking boot for a few weeks following surgery, and your La Peer physician will advise you on when you may resume other activities.

If you have a bulging bump on the outside of your big toe that is causing persistent or intermittent pain, please schedule a consultation with our Beverly Hills podiatrist Dr. Jamshidinia by calling (855) 360-9119.