What Are Bunions and What Causes Them?
Bunions are a common foot deformity. More common in women, bunions are a painful foot condition that is caused by an enlarged, bony bump on the joint at the base of the big toe. Many people who suffer from bunions experience a great deal of discomfort. Bunions occur when the big toe and second toe push against each other, causing pressure on your big toe joint.
Consequently, this can result in an abnormal-looking curve to your toes as well as cause soreness in your foot. While it can be a genetic condition that runs in the family, bunions can also be caused by wearing poorly fitted shoes or standing for long periods of time with poor posture.
Several symptoms may indicate a bunion, including inflammation on or around your big toe joint, pain when wearing shoes and an enlargement on the side of your foot near your second toe. However, these bunion symptoms can be confused with other conditions, such as ganglion cysts, arthritis and misalignment in the feet. As such, it is advisable to consult and seek the appropriate treatment with an orthopaedic doctor in Singapore.
What is Bunion Surgery?
As its name suggests, bunion surgery is a corrective medical procedure performed to treat bunions, known as metatarsal osteotomy. The surgery is usually recommended when conservative treatments fail to alleviate the symptoms, such as severe pain, inflammation, or difficulty walking. There are multiple techniques of bunion surgery, including osteotomy, arthrodesis, and exostectomy, each with its advantages and disadvantages. However, all the procedures involve cutting and repositioning the bones, tendons, and ligaments around the affected joint to correct the deformity and restore normal alignment. Normal alignment and the reduction of the bump on the side of the foot are made by leveraging metal screws to straighten the big toe.
When is Bunion Surgery Needed?
While bunions may not require medical treatments, it can be a permanent deformity to your foot unless surgically corrected. Bunions may also cause pain and make walking difficult because they put pressure on ligaments in the area. Additionally, having a bunion increases the risk of bursitis, hammer toe and metatarsalgia. When consulting a doctor in Singapore to treat your foot bunion, he may recommend a minimally invasive bunion surgery to relieve the symptoms associated with this condition before it gets worse.
However, conservative treatments such as wearing appropriate footwear, using orthotics, taking medications, or using ice and rest, are first recommended. Bunion surgery is typically considered when these non-surgically treatments fail to alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by a bunion. Bunion surgery may also be necessary if the bunion is causing significant deformity or affecting the alignment of the foot. In some cases, bunions can cause difficulty walking, nerve damage, or arthritis, which may require surgery. Therefore, it is important to consult with a foot and ankle specialist to determine if bunion surgery is necessary and to discuss the treatment options based on the individual's needs and circumstances.
Who Usually Needs Bunion Surgery?
Keep a lookout for a bony bump at the side of your big toe. Once you have a bunion, try reducing the pressure on your foot by using supports in your shoe and switching to wider footwear. Your shoes may, however, rub against the bunion when the deformity grows bigger - further causing calluses and blisters. You can try conventional treatments to provide pain relief for your bunions.
Bunion surgery is typically recommended for individuals who experience severe pain that interferes with their day-to-day activities and deformity in their big toe joint due to a bunion. As such, people who may benefit from bunion surgery include those with a significant deformity, persistent pain, inability to wear shoes comfortably, and difficulty walking or performing daily activities. Bunion surgery may also be considered for individuals with arthritis or an unstable joint, as these conditions can cause further damage to the foot over time.
Consulting with a surgeon to perform a bunion surgery is a recommended solution if your bunions are causing discomfort and pain on your feet. A minimally invasive bunion surgery can help women, and even men, to remove or reposition bunion bone tissue so it won't continue to press against other bones in their feet.
What Do You Need to Know Before Bunion Surgery
Before bunion surgery, a consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon is usually required. The surgeon will examine the affected foot and may take X-rays to determine the deformity's severity and how far the big toe joint has moved away from the other toes. The patient's medical history and current medications will also be reviewed to ensure they are fit for bunion surgery. Pre-operative instructions will be given, such as stopping the consumption of certain medicines. The surgeon may also discuss the patient's expected outcome and post-operative recovery process.
What Happens During Bunion Surgery?
During a bunion surgery, the surgeon will make small incisions near the bunion to remove the enlarged part of bone, ligaments and tendons from the affected toe. This may involve cutting and shifting bones, repairing tendons and ligaments, or removing damaged tissue. The surgeon might also utilise pins, screws, or plates to hold the bones in place while they heal. As a bunion surgery will be minimally invasive, and will take approximately one to two hours to complete and is usually done as an outpatient procedure with minimal scarring involved.
What Happens After Bunion Surgery?
After bunion surgery, the patient will be monitored in a recovery room for a short time and then discharged. Patients may experience pain, swelling, and discomfort for several weeks and will thus need to wear a special shoe or boot to protect the foot during the healing process. The foot will be bandaged, and the patient will be advised to keep the foot elevated to reduce swelling. Crutches or a walker may be needed for a few days or weeks. Physical therapy may be recommended to improve the range of motion and reduce stiffness, and full recovery and complete restoration of the function of the foot may take several months.
Possible Risks of Bunion Surgery
Possible risks of bunion surgery include infection, nerve damage, excessive swelling, poor wound or bone healing, stiffness of the big toe joint, and bunion recurrence. Discussing these risks with your surgeon beforehand and following their instructions for proper aftercare to minimise the risk of complications is thus of utmost importance.
Why Choose Orthofoot MD for Bunion Surgery?
- With a thorough understanding of sport-related injuries and their treatments, our surgeon is able to provide quality care.
- Our clinic is conveniently located at Mount Elizabeth and Mount Alvernia Hospitals, making it easily accessible for patients.
- We offer assistance with medical claims, including Medisave and Integrated Shield Plans, to ensure a hassle-free experience for our patients, depending on the type of treatment.
About Our Surgeon
Dr. Gowreeson Thevendran is an orthopaedic surgeon with Island Orthopaedic, specialising in lower limb orthopaedic conditions, trauma and fracture surgery of both the upper and lower limbs. He received his medical education from the University of Bristol and completed his surgical training in the UK and Canada. Prior to establishing his private practice, Dr. Gowreeson was Chief of the Foot & Ankle Surgery, Department of Orthopaedics, Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He is also committed to improving postgraduate education goals worldwide and is the current Chair of the Education Academy of SICOT. Dr Gowreeson has also authored over 50 scientific articles and is an international faculty on various orthopaedic courses.
Book an Appointment Today for Your Bunion Treatment in Singapore
There are several things you can do to relieve bunion symptoms before considering surgery such as wearing properly aligned footwear. However, if this condition affects you regularly, consider speaking to our doctor in Singapore about the treatment options to alleviate the discomfort. Foot bunion surgery is minimally invasive, may relieve the pain and allow you to return to your normal activities, improving your quality of life.
Besides bunion, another common foot deformity is hammer toe, which develops when the middle toes bend up towards second or third toes. Having bunions may also make it more likely for you to develop hammer toes. If you're experiencing pain in your toe area, it may be time to visit an orthopaedic doctor who deals with these issues regularly for an examination. Get in touch with orthopaedic specialist, Dr. Gowreeson Thevendran, at Orthofoot MD today to find out more.
Dr Gowreeson Thevendran
MBChB (Bristol), MRCS.Ed, Dip. Sports Med.Ed, FRCS.Ed ( Trauma & Ortho. ), FAMS (Singapore)
- Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery
- English, Malay, Tamil
- Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, University of Bristol, England
- Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh
- Diplomate Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh
- Fellow of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore
- SICOT PIONEER Founders Award 2020
- 2015 European Foot & Ankle Society ‘Best Podium Presentation’ Award
- 2013 Singapore Orthopaedic Association Junior Travelling Fellowship
- 2012 NHG Critical Talent Special Recognition Award
- 1998 Enid Lindt Prize in Clinical Surgery
- 1995 Public Services Department Full Medical scholarship
Frequently Asked Questions About Foot Bunion Surgery in Singapore
Dr Gowreeson Thevendran is currently an orthopaedic surgeon with Island Orthopaedic, a one-stop care centre for orthopaedic health under Healthway Medical Group. He specialises in treating lower limb orthopaedic conditions, as well as trauma and fracture surgery of both the upper and lower limbs. Prior to establishing his private practice, Dr Gowreeson was Chief of Foot & Ankle Surgery at the Department of Orthopaedics at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). Today, he continues to serve the Orthopaedic Department at TTSH as a visiting consultant.