Unless the underlying causes of bunions are eliminated, they will only worsen over time. In cases of severe discomfort, a surgical procedure known as a bunionectomy may be performed. The amount of the deformity will determine the surgical technique prescribed.
In the case of small bunions, the bothersome bump may only require shaving to repair the soft tissue in the big toe joint. However, bunions that cause severe pain or discomfort usually require more correction than shaving provides.
In the more severe cases, the technique most often recommended is a procedure that involves breaking and then realigning the metatarsal bone to decrease the toe’s angle of deviation. In both procedures, the bones are correctly repositioned and then stabilized with screws, pins, plates, or wires.
Although this surgery is a relatively simple procedure, the bones and soft tissues involved will usually take approximately three full months to heal. A walking shoe, crutches, or even a wheelchair may be needed to keep weight off the foot during recovery.
When severe bunions occur on both feet, each will require undergoing a separate bunionectomy and recovery period. Having both feet repaired surgically at the same time is strongly discouraged.