Oh, how I love the Brits. They are such an accepting, no-nonsense bunch. Crooked teeth? No need for braces, a snaggletooth adds character! Royal scandal? That's just good entertainment! Bunions? You don't need lousy bunion surgery!
That last part was made official by Oxfordshire County National Health Service (NHS) chiefs this year, according to the Oxford Mail. The news source reports that representatives from the organization say that bunions are typically nothing more than a cosmetic issue, and that the NHS will not pay for bunion surgeries unless the bony deformity is severe and causes functional impairment of the foot.
Apparently, you need to be in significant pain or have a stiff toe, an infection, a swollen joint or blood clots in order for the NHS to take pity on you and pay for bunion surgery, according to the Oxford Mail.
"The policy sets a threshold for surgery so that those who really need it and will benefit the most will still get it," said NHS spokesperson Ruth Atkins, quoted by the news source. "Bunions usually get worse over time, so a bunion that is left untreated is likely to get bigger and become more painful."
You said it, sister. Not to mention that an operation to correct the deformity can be quite costly. The article reports that between spring 2009 and 2011, the NHS paid the equivalent of $102,539 for 39 bunion surgeries in the county.
According to an article in USA Today, the going rate for bunion surgery in America is about $3,500 to $4,000. Moreover, your health insurance is not guaranteed to cover the cost of the operation.
It may be best to just save that cash for a new pair of Christian Louboutins, because the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that most bunions can be corrected or treated in minimally invasive ways. Moreover, bunion surgery comes with risks of infection, over-correction, recurrence, pain and joint stiffness.
You can help soothe your bunion pain at the end of a long day trekking around in heels by icing the protrusion and taking an ibuprofen or aspirin. Additionally, I swear by my Bunion Aid splint, which has a hinged design that allows me to move around while correcting my bunions.