If you have ever looked down at your foot and said, “When did that get there?” you’re probably referring to a bunion, especially if it’s painful. A bunion is the painful swelling of the first joint on the toe. For many people, bunions run in the family. Bunions sometimes develop with arthritis. Three out of four Americans will experience a common foot problem in their lifetime. Therefore, you’re not alone.

Women are more likely to develop bunions due to years of wearing tight, poorly fitting shoes, especially heels with pointed-toe closures. Athletes who run track or are required to wear cleats can also get bunions easily.

There are a few cosmetic ways to comfort your bunion without surgery. However, most times when the bunion has gone untreated for too long, the pain becomes too severe and requires surgical removal.

Bunionectomy is the surgery performed to remove bunions. Bunions form when the bone or tissue at the joint at the bottom of the big toe moves out of place. Years of abnormal motion and pressure on the joint forces the big toe to bend toward the others, which causes an often-painful lump on the joint. Your doctor also may recommend surgery because bunions can result in other painful foot problems, such as hammertoes, bursitis, a bunion below the little toe, or pain in the balls of your feet. The goal of surgery is to return the big toe to its correct position. A surgeon puts bones, ligaments, tendons and nerves back into correct order, and removes the bump.

To prevent growth of your bunion you can wear properly fitting shoes that allow room for all of your toes and wear low-heeled shoes if you are used to wearing high heels or stilettos. If the pain caused by your bunion is still too unbearable you should speak to your doctor about surgery.

The Ambulatory Surgery Unit at Jamaica Hospital is here to help you through your experience. All nurses are trained with full holistic/relaxation techniques and will help you to make this a calm procedure. “We want you to feel like Jamaica ASU is a part of your family, ‘Jamaica Cares’” the nurse manager, Cheryl Gallotta-Dimassi is available to assist you, and welcomes you to seek her out.

Jamaica Hospital’s on-site Ambulatory Surgery Unit is located on the first floor of the hospital. The Center is open Monday through Friday, from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. For an appointment,  call 718-206-6102.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.