Bunion surgery

Is bunion surgery the only option?

Together with our foot and ankle surgery Specialists, you can select the best possible treatment according to the severity of your bunions. At Schoen Clinic London, we offer a full range of treatments for bunions.

In the early stages you may not be experiencing any pain, or only minor pain, so some footwear modification (wider footwear) can help. Conservative bunion treatments, such as a splint can help to alleviate pain but they won't remove the bunion. Bunion surgery is needed to permanently rectify the bone displacement, preferably before cartilage is damaged.

Our bunion surgery Specialists in London will discuss your best options with you.

Bunion treatment: relieve acute pain without surgery

Many patients with bunions can manage their pain without the need for surgical correction. Wearing shoes that are wide around the toes and have a low heel can help alleviate painful symptoms. Physiotherapy and strengthening of the small muscles within the foot can help with symptoms of foot pain in general and there are certain exercises that may be helpful for bunion related pain. Toe spacers can help with reducing friction between the toes or with controlling a hammer toe deformity if this is rubbing in footwear.

It is important to note that these splints or spacers will not get rid of the bunion and only reduce friction to relieve painful symptoms.

Conservative treatment methods

  • Bunion treatment: Relieve acute pain without surgery

Minimally invasive, (keyhole) bunion surgery

One procedure we offer at Schoen Clinic London is minimally invasive keyhole surgery for bunions. Also known as Minimally Invasive Chevron and Akin (MICA) bunion surgery. This approach is less painful bunion surgery than open surgery. It also allows for faster recovery time for bunions.

The technique employs several small keyhole incisions over the bunion to break the bone and move it. This small series of scars amounts to less than twenty percent of the overall scar needed in most open surgery. There is an obvious cosmetic benefit but also with a smaller scar there is a lower risk of infection. Once the bone is moved into its desired place it is held with screws. The screws are accurately placed using live X-ray in surgery. The screws used have a special bevelled edge leading to less screw irritation under the skin.

The bunion bump is shaved through the same keyhole used to cut one of the bones. The small cuts and little soft tissue disruption as well as optimal utilisation of each small cut allow for a rapid recovery. This is quicker and less painful than open surgery and allows you to walk immediately after surgery. Keyhole bunion surgery is done as a day-case surgery. This minimally invasive approach often needs very little post-operative pain relief.

Other surgical solutions for the treatment of bunions

The aim of bunion surgery is to realign the first metatarsal so that it is no longer pointing towards the inside of the foot. This is done through an incision on the inner aspect of your foot and the first metatarsal bone is cut and then realigned and fixed with screws (Scarf or Chevron osteotomy). At the same time, a correction of the actual big toe bone may also be required to realign it so that it is more straight (Akin osteotomy). This will also need to be fixed with a staple or a screw.

As bunions progress it is possible for the joint surfaces to wear, resulting in arthritis. If arthritis is present within the big toe joint, as well as a bunion, then you may be recommended to have a big toe fusion surgery to straighten the bunion and minimise the arthritis pain. Very rarely, if the deformity is severe, you may be required to have a fusion operation in the midfoot, known as a lapidus fusion but your surgeon will discuss your particular case with you.

Surgical treatment methods

  • Minimally invasive, (keyhole) bunion surgery

  • Other surgical solutions for the treatment of bunions