Bunions (Hallux valgus) are very common and can become problematic at any age. They cause a variety of issues around the big toe joint, including; pain and swelling, shoe fit issues, nerve pain and worsening deformity of the toes. Whilst considered a functional deformation, bunions are also a cosmetic issue.
Hallux valgus is generally genetic in origin, although it can be accelerated by ill-fitting shoes or injury. It is characterised by a deformity of the first metatarsophalangeal joint with deviation of the big toe, and a large bony lump on the inside of the great toe. It is not an abnormal growth of bone; hallax vulgus is a normal bone in the wrong place.
The poor alignment often causes the cartilage of the big toe joint to wear unevenly. Arthritic changes can become apparent. Hallux valgus can also make other foot problems worse, such as foot instability and hammertoes.
When should I consider having bunion surgery?
This is a very personal decision. We will help you make an informed decision. Some of the key factors which Dr. Mark Gilheany regards as triggers to consider surgery are:
- A correct diagnosis of hallux valgus. This based on clinical evaluation and weight bearing foot x – rays.
- Non-surgical treatments have failed to assist pain, or the condition is progressing.
- Increasing negative effect on quality of life (shoe fit, pain, function, appearance)
- Increasing secondary deformity, e.g. 2nd hammertoe
What is bunion surgery?
The primary goal of bunion surgery is to re align the great toe joint. To achieve this, the most common element of all hallux valgus procedures is a requirement to cut the bone behind the big toe joint and realign the joint. This can be achieved with procedures which vary in severity and invasiveness.
The best procedure for one person is not necessarily the best for another. There are many variables to consider when selecting a bunion procedure and the key to success is finding an experienced surgeon who understands each variable and can appreciate individual patient goals and expectations.
Mark Gilheany has a surgical qualification (USA Fellowship) in minimally invasive foot surgery techniques. He brings this expertise to hallux valgus (bunion) surgery.
He performs bunion surgery on a day stay ambulatory basis. A minimally invasive approach, specific dressing design, anaesthesia choice, effective post-operative pain management techniques and years of experience facilitate this.
At the Foot and Ankle Clinic our highly qualified team of Podiatrists are all members of the Australian Podiatry Association and offer a combined 50 years’ experience. They are trained to diagnose and effectively treat bunions via a range of treatments.
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