What is bunion correction surgery?

A bunion is a bony lump that forms at the base of the big toe due to pressure on the big toe. This deformity can cause pain when wearing shoes or just walking. Bunion correction surgery, otherwise known as a bunionectomy, bunion surgery, or hallux valgus correction, is a surgery where the bone is cut down to align with the rest of the foot.

What does treatment involve?

When non-surgical methods fail to ease the pain, and the bunion causes difficulty with walking, a bunion correction surgery or hallux valgus correction may be done to repair the deformity. Dr Heymans will give you a sedative and numb the foot area. He will then make an incision along the bunion and cut the bone into smaller fragments so that it aligns with the rest of the foot. This is known as an osteotomy. The bone of the big toe is then held in place with screws to ensure it remains straight. In addition, the soft tissues in the big toe may have become too tight. In these cases, Dr Heymans will make an incision on the top of the big toe to relieve the pressure and allow the soft tissues to relax more. The incisions are then closed with stitches, and the foot is bandaged.

What can I expect in terms of recovery?

You should be able to go home within a few hours once the numbness has disappeared and the sedation has worn off. Your foot will be put into a brace or boot to protect the healing bones. You will be instructed to stay off your feet for at least a week after surgery. You should keep your foot elevated during this time to aid healing and prevent swelling. With the help of a physiotherapist, you will need to do exercises to strengthen the foot after the hallux valgus correction. Recovery should take about 6 – 8 weeks before you can go back to normal. You may return to physical activity after roughly 6 months.