Bunion surgery should be avoided at all costs

Going under the knife is never a pleasant experience – just ask Joan Rivers. The Queen of Mean may also be able to tell you that the outcome is not always what you hoped it would be. In addition to risks of infection, unsightly scarring and intense pain, surgical procedures have the potential to leave a patient with little to no improvement or, in the worst cases, disfigured.

If your bunions have gotten so bad that they are causing hindered mobility or keep you from donning your favorite pair of Christian Louboutins, the thought of bunion surgery may have crossed your mind. While the operation is recommended in certain cases, you should know exactly what happens during bunion surgery.

The least invasive type of bunion correction involves adjusting the ligaments around the big toe. This entails tightening those on the outer edge of a bunion, and giving inner ligaments a little leeway so that they are not pulling the big toe toward the little ones.

I don't know about you guys, but I'm already feeling a little queasy thinking about all of this pulling and cutting of ligaments. We haven't even gotten to the stuff involving pins and bones yet. But, moving on!

There are several types of osteotomy surgery, all variations that involve cutting into affected bone or joint components and pinning the big toe into proper position. This ranges from small, v-shaped cuts to carving out a crescent shape at the base of the metatarsal where it meets with the toe.

A resection arthroplasty consists of removing portions of the affected big toe joint, and letting your body's healing system do its thing, creating flexible scar tissue that would essentially serve as your new joint.

A procedure known as arthrodesis involves scraping away the damaged portions of the big toe joint, and replacing the parts with screws, plates and wires. How disgusting is that? This is what's thought of as a last resort bunion treatment, when arthritis or deformity has gotten so bad that other operations have failed.

For ladies who wish to avoid having a Franken-foot, bunion splints or orthotics may be an effective, non-invasive alternative. They work by supporting the foot, thereby taking stress off the metatarsal joint. Additionally, splints work to hold the big toe joint in place, which has been shown to gradually reduce the appearance of the bony deformity.