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Should You Consider Bunion Surgery?

That’s just the way it is with a lot of elective surgeries. Some people want us to go in and repair a deformity as soon as the tiniest little bump becomes noticeable. Others live with their bunions for years—nay, decades—before even booking an initial appointment for an evaluation and education.

Most people, of course, fall somewhere between those extremes. But that’s still a lot of variability! And unfortunately, in our opinion a lot of people are missing the mark.

Now, having said that, one blog on the Internet can’t tell you for sure whether it’s time to surgically repair your bunion. And Dr. Google is fine as a source for very basic information, but you’re always going to want an opinion from an actual foot and ankle specialist.

What we do is give you insightful guidelines for how to go about making that determination, and provide a window into our philosophy on the topic—as professionals with many years of experience providing both conservative and surgical treatments for bunion deformities to patients of all ages throughout Southeast Michigan.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

When Should You NOT Consider Bunion Surgery

So let’s go back to our original example: the person who wants surgery right away because she (or he—10 percent of bunion sufferers are male, after all) simply doesn’t like looking at a slightly misshapen foot.

While we sympathize, we generally would not recommend bunion surgery purely for cosmetic reasons. Even though bunion surgery is generally very safe—and our surgeons are very, very good at it—we’d generally prefer a higher “benchmark” of day-to-day interference before putting feet under the knife.

No surgery is guaranteed to be 100% risk free, and even the most successful bunion surgery will require a certain amount of downtime and rehab. So if your bunions aren’t actually getting in the way of your day-to-day, it’s better to focus on conservative care to reduce or prevent symptoms, and ideally keep the bunion from getting any worse.

When You SHOULD Consider Bunion Surgery

So you can probably see where this is going, but let’s set some more specific guidelines. Typically, we’d start looking toward surgery if your situation can be fairly described by the following:

  • You’re in a decent amount of pain. We’re talking pain that can’t be controlled with switching shoes or taking an ibuprofen once in a while, on a regular basis.
  • Conservative treatments aren’t cutting it anymore. Implied by the former. Our first-choice approach to minor bunions is going to be non-surgical options like orthotics, padding, laser therapy, injection therapy—suffice to say we have a lot of options and can help you choose which ones may be right for your situation. If you haven’t attempted conservative treatments, we’d recommend you give them a genuine shot for at least a few months first.
  • Your lifestyle is being impacted. This could mean that daily tasks, like working, household chores, or just standing and walking for more than very short periods become difficult or impossible. But it could also mean that one or two specific hobbies (like hiking or running or playing hockey) that are extremely important to you have been impacted, even if the “day-to-day” is still manageable. This is naturally going to be a case-by-case determination.

Going back to our original example, many people who wait years or decades to seek help for their bunions have already been living this way for a long time. We certainly don’t want you to keep cutting back on your lifestyle and activities when a surgical repair could have restored your quality of life long ago!

Why You SHOULDN’T BE AFRAID of Bunion Surgery

By far, one of the biggest reasons people drag their feet on having bunion surgery is fear. They’re afraid that it will be painful, risky, or just take forever to recover from.

Another reason—if we may be blunt for a moment—is well-meaning loved ones offering bad advice or setting a bad example. If mom or grandma has been living with bunions for years, and they seem more or less fine, you may start to think that living with bunions indefinitely is just “the thing to do.”

But you don’t have to be afraid, and you don’t have to deny yourself the relief you deserve just because someone else made a different choice!

So, if you are ready to consider surgery, then Lakes Foot and Ankle Associates is absolutely where you want to be.

A little context here: there’s not one single surgical procedure out there for bunions. There are, quite literally, dozens of techniques and approaches that can be selected, and best practices are always evolving. If your foot surgeon has been fixing bunions the exact same way ever since the ‘90s (or ‘80s, or ‘70s …), you may still get a good result, but you may not get the best result for you, with the lowest risk.

By contrast, both of our foot surgeons at Lakes Foot and Ankle Associates have advanced training in many of the latest surgical techniques, and continue to follow latest research and develop their skills.

We also have our own on-site, hospital-grade OR, where we rigorously follow the highest recommended sterility standards and protocols. That not only makes it a safer environment where you’re less likely to develop infections and other complications, but also saves you a lot of time and money compared to a hospitalization. Plus, we can use our advanced MLS laser system to help those surgical sites heal faster and produce less swelling and pain!

We are proud of our extremely high success and safety rates, and will of course make sure you have all the information, instruction, and support you need to make your recovery as easy and painless as possible.

So, if you currently have a bunion on either or both feet—regardless of how far along it has progressed—don’t wait any longer to reach out to us! The sooner you do, the more likely we’ll be able to get you the care you need, whether that’s surgical or non-surgical in nature. Come in and get educated!

To take the next step, just call our office in Commerce Township at (248) 360-3888, or request an appointment online.

Monday8:00am – 4:30pm
Tuesday9:00am – 4:30pm
Wednesday8:00am – 4:30pm
Thursday8:45am – 6:00pm
Friday7:30 am – 4:00pm
Saturday– Closed –
Sunday– Closed –


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