Bunion Correction Surgery

Bunion correction surgery is a minimally-invasive treatment to correct the foot’s ailment and function. While not always necessary, this procedure can bring relief caused by this painful condition.

What is a Bunion?

Bunions are a boney enlargement commonly found at the base of the big toe. They form when the bones supporting the big toe and forefoot become misaligned. The importance of conservative care cannot be understated, and is firmly believed in and practiced at Brighton Foot and Ankle.

However, conservative care does not always provide patients with adequate pain relief or allow for full return to activity. Since this is a bone-related problem, bunion correction may require surgery as conservative care cannot restructure the foot’s bones. Surgery is warranted when bunions are painful, limit activity, or prevent wear in normal shoes.   

woman holding foot with bunion

Individualized Treatment

Dr. Castelein utilizes an individualized approach to each bunion. He listens to the patient’s medical history and activity demands placed on the bunion in question. He then examines the foot’s mechanics and reviews in-office x-rays.

Dr. Castelein believes in matching the patient’s lifestyle demands with the biomechanics of the foot. Sometimes, he uses a singular surgical procedure, while more serious cases require a combination of procedures.

The goal of each bunion correction is to provide a functioning foot with lasting correction.

Outpatient Treatment

Dr. Castelein completes all bunion procedures in an outpatient setting, either at a hospital or surgery center. He is able to operate at many of the area facilities.

Typically, the patient will go to sleep during the procedure but Dr. Castelein works closely with the anesthesia team to determine the least amount of anesthesia necessary to keep the patient comfortable.

Bunion Surgery Details

There are a few basic types of surgery used to correct a bunion, each based on the needs of the patient and foot structure. All procedures involve rebalancing the soft tissues surrounding the big toe. Boney work is determined by the degree of bunion.

  • Mild bunions typically need shaving or removal of the bump causing irritation at the base of the big toe.
  • Moderate bunions require a boney realignment. This is done by reshaping the long bone in the foot called the first metatarsal. This bone is returned to a more natural shape. Many times, a pie-shaped wedge of bone is also removed from the big toe.
  • Severe bunions and flexible bunions require additional stability. This is achieved by joining two bones of a joint to create one long bone. Typically, this is done in the middle of the foot and performed on a joint that naturally has minimal motion and maintains normal function of the foot.
  • When a bunion is combined with arthritis, fusion may be the best option. Often, this involves the joint found at the base of the big toe. The fusion is completed in a manner that allows for proper foot function. The goal of big toe fusion is to alleviate the joint pain by removing joint misalignment. 
Xray of Bunion
doctor examining bunion on patient's foot

After Surgery Care

After surgery, each patient is continuously monitored for healing, swelling, and pain. Dr. Castelein always attempts to have his patients return to regular activity as quickly as possible. The vast majority of procedures allow the patient to starting walking the same day of surgery. In rare cases, a short period of non-weightbearing before initiating walking may be required.

Minimally invasive bunion corrections are becoming increasingly popular. They offer powerful correction with smaller incisions. Dr. Castelein is trained in these techniques and welcomes bringing them to Brighton and the surrounding communities.