Bunion Treatment: Non-Invasive Options or Bunion Surgery?

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Bunion Treatment: Non-Invasive Options or Bunion Surgery?

A bunion is a painful, bony protrusion that forms at the joint of your big toe. When the bones at this joint (the metatarsophalangeal joint, also called the MTP joint) become misaligned, your step can become impaired, your big toe can begin to push into or under your second toe, other bones in your foot can move out of alignment, and simple tasks like wearing shoes can become unbearable. Bunions are a progressive condition and will become worse over time without treatment. There are options for non-invasive treatments to slow the progression and decrease the pain and discomfort of bunions. There are also options for bunion surgery to correct this painful foot deformity. Which treatment option is right for you?

Conservative Treatments Or Bunion Surgery?

Bunion pain can be the result of the misaligned bones in your toe and foot and from rubbing, pressure, and swelling on the bump that has developed. There are no conservative treatments that will correct a bunion, but certain strategies can slow the progression and provide pain relief. Bunion surgery is the only option to realign the bones and eliminate the bunion. So what are your options for treatment and what makes sense for you?

Non-Invasive Bunion Treatments
Conservative treatments are always the first step and your podiatrist will recommend you attempt to treat your bunion and find pain relief through non-surgical means before considering bunion surgery. Non-surgical bunion treatment options include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling
  • Ultrasound therapy to break up adhesions in the soft tissue and reduce inflammation
  • Shielding the bunion with moleskin or a protective gel cushion
  • Custom orthotics to help properly align your foot
  • Splinting to keep your big toe straight while you sleep
  • Ice packs, warm compresses, and massage
  • Appropriate footwear that can provide ample space and prevent pressure and friction

Consider these conservative treatments when:

  • Bunion pain or discomfort is not present or is mild
  • Your goals for treatment are symptom relief
  • You are not experiencing complications or other conditions related to bunions like corns and calluses
  • You do not have the time right now for surgery and recovery

Bunion Surgery
There are three surgical strategies to correct your bunion. These minimally invasive bunion surgeries can often be completed using a local anesthetic. The three types of bunion surgery are:

  • Osteotomy: This option involves an incision in the joint to realign the position of your big toe
  • Exostectomy: This option removes the bony formation of the bunion but does not realign the toe
  • Arthrodesis: For this option, your podiatrist will realign your toe and stabilize the damaged joint with metal plates and screws

Consider bunion surgery when:

  • Conservative treatment options are not providing pain relief
  • You are experiencing severe and frequent or chronic bunion pain
  • Your movement and mobility are impacted by bunion pain
  • You are unable to wear shoes comfortably
  • You have chronic swelling and inflammation
  • You are unable to participate in activities your enjoy due to a painful bunion
  • You are experiencing related injuries or impairments such as bone spurs, bursitis, skin breakdown, hammertoes, and structural changes to other bones in your foot
  • You have the time to recover safely from bunion surgery

Find Relief From Bunion Pain With Bunion Surgery With Manhattan’s Top NYC Podiatrists

If conservative bunion treatments are not helping you achieve pain relief and you are ready to consider bunion surgery to get back on your feet, contact the team of expert NYC podiatrists at To Healthy Feet today.

Our expert team of NYC foot doctors in Manhattan can expertly assess your bunion pain, your lifestyle, and your goals for treatment, and determine if conservative treatment or bunion surgery is the right option for you. We provide accurate diagnosis and comprehensive foot and ankle care and have the tools and technologies necessary to provide a variety of tailored treatment approaches including minimally invasive bunion surgery options at each of our Manhattan Podiatry Clinics. If you are experiencing pain due to bunions or any other foot or ankle condition pain, call To Healthy Feet Podiatry at 1-917-398-3668 or fill out the contact form to book your appointment at our Upper East Side, Times Square, Midtown Grand Central, or Downtown Wall Street locations today.


Q: How long will bunion surgery take?
A: Bunion surgery will typically take less than one hour and is usually performed under local anesthetic. You will be released the same day to recover in the comfort of your own home.

Q: Will bunion surgery fix my bunions permanently?
A: Bunion surgery is an effective solution for most people as it has an approximate success rate of 85-90%. However, if patients who undergo surgery to repair their bunions continue to wear narrow, high-heeled shoes, especially too soon, they may be prone to developing bunions again.

Q: How long will it take to recover after bunion surgery?
A: Recovering after bunion surgery can take up to 8 weeks. The first few days, you will have to stay off your foot, keep your foot elevated, and ice your foot frequently to reduce swelling. You may be required to wear a cast or a brace and you will not be able to drive for up to 8 weeks after surgery.

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