Do Bunions Require Surgery?

Bunions are painful conditions that may ultimately require surgery. However, before surgical correction is considered, there are other strategies you can use to relieve bunion symptoms and protect the long-term health of your foot.


At Alpine Foot & Ankle in Sandy and Highland, Utah, our board-certified podiatrist Scott Shelton, DPM, offers customized care plans for bunions using conservative strategies. Dr. Shelton is also a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon and can perform bunion correction surgery if necessary.


What causes bunions?


A bunion is a bump that forms on the outside edge of your big toe joint. The bump develops over time due to wear and tear on the toe joints.


You might also have a bunion that forms more quickly if you have an abnormal walking pattern (gait) that puts unnecessary pressure on your big toe joint.


With continued toe movement, the joint bulges outward. Bunions can make wearing shoes difficult and painful. More advanced bunions can even cause tingling sensations or numbness in your big toe.


When bunions need treatment


Many people seek medical care for bunions when they become painful and interfere with their ability to be physically active. In addition to pain, numbness, and tingling, bunions can cause:

These conditions can also increase your pain and require expert treatment from Dr. Shelton.


You can schedule a diagnostic evaluation at Alpine Foot & Ankle if you experience these symptoms. The sooner you seek treatment for a bunion, the less likely you’ll need surgery. Delaying bunion care for too long might make conservative treatments ineffective.


Dr. Shelton completes a physical exam of your toe joint and may order X-rays or other diagnostic imaging tests of your foot to assess your bunion. The result of your testing helps him create the right treatment plan for your condition.


Exploring your treatment options for painful bunions


Initially, your treatment for bunions may include taping your toes to limit movement in your joint. The pain of bunions can be managed with oral anti-inflammatories or corticosteroids. We can also recommend bunion pads that provide extra cushioning for your big toe when wearing shoes.


Your choice of footwear also plays a role in managing bunion pain. Avoid wearing constrictive shoes like high heels and pointed-toe shoes. Instead, opt for a comfortable, supportive shoe that’s wide enough for your foot. We also offer custom orthotics that relieve pressure on your feet and ankles to prevent discomfort.


When nonsurgical therapies aren’t working well or you have a severe bunion, Dr. Shelton can determine if Lapiplasty® is right for you. This minimally invasive surgical treatment uses patented technology to restore alignment in your big toe joint to provide lasting pain relief.


Following surgery, Dr. Shelton may refer you to a physical therapist to restore full function in your big toe. Therapy can also improve your gait to prevent additional bunions from forming. You may also benefit from the ongoing use of orthotics to ensure your feet have the support they need to stay healthy.


Call Alpine Foot & Ankle in Highland, Utah, to schedule a diagnostic evaluation for painful bunions, or book an appointment online today.


If you do not see your insurance provider, contact our office.



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