Bunions in Glendale AZ

Treating bunions in Glendale AZ

Bunions in Glendale AZ

Bunions in Glendale AZ

The amount of trouble that bunions can cause is out of proportion to their size. Fortunately, you have us at Desert Foot Surgeons, as your specialist when it comes to treating bunions in Glendale AZ. And most of the time, the options are of the non-invasive variety. Surgery is held off as a last resort, only if simpler methods are not effective or are insufficient to provide the needed outcome.

If you’re wondering the exact nature of a bunion, it’s a bony protrusion that develops at the base of your big toe, at the point where the joint attaches to the remainder of your foot. Heredity is a factor, but the primary causes can be traced back to the way you walk, having flat feet, or the most common reason of all, wearing shoes that are too tight in the toe area. Many women may recognize this as a typical trait of high heels. And that is why women get bunions with greater frequency than men do. What is most important when you have bunions in Glendale AZ, is to seek out our foot doctor for an examination and evaluation. There may not be any discomfort initially, but if you are experiencing pain, you should not ignore it or try to tough it out. Walking can become difficult or even excruciating. It may become impossible to put your shoes on. Our foot doctor might recommend orthotics (shoe inserts), such as bunion pads or arch supports, so that your weight will be redistributed and take pressure off the toe joint. It is a good idea to switch to more comfortable and roomy shoes, also.

There are solutions to help with bunions in Glendale AZ. Take that essential first step. Call our office and set up an appointment to be seen by our foot doctor.

2222 E. Highland Ave, Suite 206
Phoenix, AZ 85016
(602) 490-8166

Podiatrist in Phoenix

Phoenix  Foot Doctor

Podiatrist in Phoenix

Podiatrist in Phoenix

Taking care of your feet is probably last thing on your mind. Many of us use our feet every day and never quite realize just how much we rely on them and use them to get things done. They help get us from place to place and they make completing tasks and daily routines completely possible. For those who play sports, foot health is essential. It may not be an obvious thing to take care of your teeth until you suffer from an injury, a condition, or some other development. Here at Desert Foot Surgeons, our podiatrist in Phoenix Dr. Geller can help patients treat a variety of ailments relating to the foot.

There are plenty of things that a foot doctor can do for you and help you treat. Our podiatrist in Phoenix, Dr. Geller, also offers free consultations for patients as well. So even if you are not sure what is wrong, Dr. Geller can help you figure out what the problem may be at no cost to you. For patients living with diabetes, foot care may be a regular thing that you need to take care of considering the complications related to the disease itself. Here at Desert Foot Surgeons we can provide diabetic foot and wound care to those patients that need it. Bunions and hammertoes are rather common foot deformities that can occur over time. These conditions can be caused by footwear, genetics, injuries, or any other number of causes but Dr. Geller can easily provide treatment or surgery if needed. Additionally, Dr. Geller can also provide cosmetic foot surgery for people who simply want to improve the appearance of their feet as well. Reconstructive rear foot surgery can help patients who are suffering from pain or deformities found in that area of the foot. Even if you have a fracture or a sprain, our podiatrist in Phoenix can provide you with the foot care that you need.

If you have any kind of foot issue, concern, or have suffered an injury or are experiencing pain, our podiatrist in Phoenix here at Desert Foot Surgeons can provide you with the comprehensive care that you need to get back on your feet in no time.

Phoenix Podiatry Office
4901 N. 44th St #102
Phoenix, AZ 85018

Foot Pain Treatment in Phoenix

Foot Pain Treatment

At Desert Foot Surgeons, Dr. Stephen Geller, DPM, is double board certified in primary podiatric medicine and podiatric surgery and explains how orthotics can be used for a wide variety of foot pain treatment in Phoenix. Orthotics can also be used to treat pain associated with ankle, leg, knee, hip and back pain as well. The majority of people think of orthotics as just arch supports that are used in treating flat feet. Orthotic therapy does help support the arch and is definitely used in the treatment of flat feet and foot pain, but the effectiveness of orthotic therapy goes far beyond that.

Foot Pain Treatment in Phoenix

Foot Pain Treatment in Phoenix

Basically, an orthotic is a device that fits into your shoes in order to reposition and re-balance your feet relative to the ground. With many of our patients, Dr. Geller has used orthotic therapy as a simple way to fix some lower extremity issues, eliminating the need for more aggressive therapies, including surgery. We use orthotics as a way to treat many foot and leg problems as part of our foot pain treatment in Phoenix. With orthotic therapy, the orthotic device repositions your feet and it is this change in step that will lessen or eliminate your foot pain. In most cases, however, if you stop wearing the orthotics your specific foot pain will most likely return. Many of our patients have an imbalance in the way they walk and it is this unevenness that causes the pain. Orthotic therapy remedies the imbalance and your foot pain is lessened.

Orthotics come in several varieties and often referred to as shoe inserts or insoles. There are many varieties and brands available at drugstores and supermarkets but actual medical problems can’t be remedied with these generic inserts. Therefore, a custom orthotic from Desert Foot Surgeons is necessary. These “medical grade orthotics” are for those patients who need more than just an arch support and will only benefit from prescription grade materials adjusted to the specific height of your arch. When a prescription orthotic is made, there will most likely be things built into it that attempt to re-balance your foot’s position, instead of just trying to support your arch. To make a prescription orthotic, the shape of the foot has to be “captured”, using plaster of paris molds of your feet. As messy as this process can be, Dr. Geller feels it can be an essential part of certain foot pain treatment in Phoenix.

4901 N. 44th St #102
Phoenix, AZ 85018

Phoenix Foot Doctor

Foot Surgery Phoenix

Bunions and hammertoes are just two of the foot concerns that we handle at Desert Foot Surgeons. Our Phoenix foot doctor, Stephen Geller, DPM, can help. Both conditions can be the result of genetics as well as other possible causes.

85018 Foot Care

85018 Foot Care

A bunion is a bony protrusion that can occur at the base of your big toe, at the joint where it is attached to the foot. It can impede your ability to walk in a normal fashion and can cause discomfort and pain, sometimes severe. Pressure and friction from walking and from socks and shoes can lead to the formation of calluses too. In many cases, bunions develop due to too much pressure on the big toe joint because of the way you walk. Other outside causes include having flat feet, and wearing shoes that are too tight. At least partially because of the high-heeled shoes, women are more prone to bunions than men are. Treatment by our Phoenix foot doctor will often be dependent on the severity of the problem. For example, if you have a bunion that is not causing any pain or discomfort, you may need no treatment at all at that time. When treatment is necessary, it can be either lifestyle changes (such as wearing more comfortable shoes) to using bunion pads or arch supports to help redistribute the weight on your foot. In more severe cases, surgery may be needed to remove the bunion and give you relief from the pain and difficulty.

One of the possible causes of hammertoes is having bunions, so there is a connection as sometimes happens with foot problems. Hammertoe happens when the middle joint of your toe is stuck in a bent position. This is due to an imbalance between the muscle and ligament that surrounds the middle joint. Any toe can be affected by it. People with circulation problems or diabetes can become seriously impacted by a hammertoe and therefore should take special care to seek our Phoenix foot doctor if any difficulties occur. Other common causes of hammertoe besides genetics and bunions are arthritis and toe injuries. If your toe can still move freely, more comfortable shoes may be recommended possibly accompanied by orthotics. This will work to relieve the pressure on the foot and reduce the pain involved. Stretching and strength building exercise can also be a good idea. Surgery may be a last resort if other methods prove ineffective.

Hammertoe Surgery Phoenix
4901 N. 44th St #102
Phoenix, AZ 85018

Myths About Bunion Surgery

A bunion is a structural deformity where your big toe drifts toward the 2nd toe and a lump gradually develops on the inside of your foot near the base of the big toe.  This leaves you with two potential areas of irritation: 1. the bump can rub against shoes causing pain; and 2. the joint falling out of position causes wear and tear on the cartilage, which is painful deep inside the joint.  Surgery is often recommended when altering shoes, inserts, and anti-inflammatory medications have failed to alleviate your pain.  Many patients come with pre-conceived notions regarding bunion surgery based on rumors they have heard.  Let’s discuss some of the more common rumors and get to the truth.


The bunion returns over time:

There are many different approaches to surgically correct a bunion.  Remember, feet are like snowflakes, no two are alike.  If your mother had bunion surgery it does not mean you will have the same procedure to fix your bunion.  A thorough exam of your foot sitting, standing, and  walking is necessary with x-rays to determine the best possible surgical procedure to correct your bunion.  No one wants to see your bunion return.  If the appropriate procedure is selected, it is unlikely that your bunion will return.  Often I hear of patients and physicians making a compromise in the selected procedure to allow you to walk earlier than otherwise would be allowed with the more appropriate procedure.  Don’t fall into this trap!  At Desert Foot Surgeons, we discuss options based upon what is best for correcting your deformity given your lifestyle and goals.  If you are not able to recover from the best possible surgery to correct your bunion, We often recommend that you wait.  It is much more difficult to correct a failed bunion surgery than it is to do it right the first time.

You will have pins sticking out of your foot after bunion surgery:

Deformity correction involves surgically cutting bones to improve their position.  In order for bone to heal it must be held in place with no motion.  Pins were used initially, but technology has improved.  Cutting edge technology used at Desert Foot Surgeons, means you will not have pins sticking out of your foot after bunion surgery.  Options range from screws and plates to absorbable pins and screws.  As always in my practice, you will be part of the discussion regarding what type of fixation is used.  If you have specific requirements or desires, these will be addressed.

Bunion surgery is the most painful surgery ever:

Let’s put this in perspective.  You have a bone that is out of position.  In order to place that bone in corrected position, I need to surgically break the bone and hold it together with plates and screws.  There is not a lot of space available for swelling in the foot so when your foot does swell there is pressure on the nerves and this results in pain.  Less swelling equals less pain.  When you have bunion surgery with Desert Foot Surgeons, you will be given a detailed plan for recovering from your surgery.  Part of this plan is to keep your foot elevated above your heart and ways to use ice to minimize swelling.  Studies have shown that bunion surgery is no more painful than other surgeries, but pain is very individual; what hurts one person is hardly a nuisance to another.  Part of your recovery plan will involve a discussion of what works best for you to alleviate pain.  This will be incorporated into your game plan after surgery.

There are many rumors about bunion surgery.  Here I have addressed just a few of the more common ones.  It never hurts to get an opinion.  At Desert Foot Surgeons, you will never be pressured into surgery.  Often I spend more time talking patients out of surgery when expectations don’t meet reality.  If you can’t talk to your surgeon, should you really allow them to cut on you?  I welcome you to come and have your bunion examined sitting, standing, and walking to see what the best plan would be for you.

Tune Up Your Feet for Summer and the Beach

These chilly winter mornings certainly don’t lend themselves to flip-flops and thoughts of sand between your toes. What they do mean is wearing closed-in shoes that might make you notice that lump behind your big toe or the slight bend in your toe that never bothers you in sandals. Of course when your toes are stuck in those shoes all day the pedicures seem less important so maybe you let your toes go for a while. As the polish chips and fades you notice white or yellow discoloration on the corners of your toenails even some lifting of the nail from the skin. You could cover it with polish come summer, but maybe it can be cured.

Now is the time to start getting your feet in shape for summer. We are 4 months away from schools’ summer vacation. If you are thinking about fixing your hammertoes or bunions, now is the time so that your surgery will be fully healed and ready for serious beach activities or lounging by the pool.

Bunion surgery involves fixing that lump or bump behind your big toe. Unfortunately the bump is not a growth of bone, but a bone that has shifted position. Moving the bone back into position often times requires breaking that bone in surgery. This takes time to heal ranging from 4-8 weeks depending upon the nature of the procedure performed. The work needed to straighten your big toe and remove the bump is determined by x-rays. I always examine patients seated, standing, and walking to determine the best approach for long-term correction of your deformity. Acting early will have your feet ready to show off this summer.

Hammertoe surgery is performed to straighten a bent or buckled toe. Having your toe straightened takes on average 4 weeks to heal the bone and gradually increasing your activities from that point forward. Getting back into shoes depends on swelling so the better behaved you are the first few weeks will determine how fast you can wear a shoe. The worse your toe is bent, the longer the recovery. In order to choose the appropriate surgery to straighten your toes, I need to see you walk. The cause of the toe buckling is due to the way your foot hits the ground as you walk. Cutting edge technology is available to correct your hammertoes. You do not need to have pins sticking out of your foot when you have hammertoe surgery. Now is the perfect time to fix those buckled toes for summer sandals.

If you have discoloration, thickening, or lifting of the nail from the skin this could be a fungal infection. Everyone has heard of athlete’s foot. This is a fungal infection of your skin. The same fungus can infect your toenails causing discoloration on the edges, thickening, and lifting of the nail from the skin beneath. There are many other causes of thick and discolored toenails. Testing of the nail must be done to assure that the cause is fungus before planning your treatment. If the nail problem is due to a fungal infection you should not delay treatment because nails grow slow. If you want clear toenails by summer, now is the time to act.

Those closed shoes are good at keeping your feet warm, but when you have lumps, bumps, and crooked toes they can be a constant source of aggravation. If your feet want to be free for the summer months splashing in the waves, soaking up sun at poolside, or playing in the sand now is the time to take action.

Hate The Bunion, Not The Shoe

Have you ever been blamed for something you didn’t do?  How’d that make you feel?  Pretty lousy, huh?  Well it’s time someone said something about the horrible wives’ tale that shoes cause bunions.  I’m just going to put it out there…Shoes do not cause bunions!!!  Never have and never will.  There I’ve said it so let’s get on with it.

A bunion is a bump or knob on the side of your foot at the base of the big toe.  Look at your foot.  Find your big toenail and work your way down toward your foot.  When you get past the area where your big toe meets your foot look for a bump.  If you see is a lump on the inside of your foot then you have a bunion.  Most often your big toe is leaning toward your second toe and in extreme cases can move under or over the second toe.  The word “bunion” is derived from Italian or Scandinavian, and refers to a knob or bump.

The question remains, how did that knob get there?  The bunion is not a “growth” of bone, but rather a bone that is not in the right position.  The bone behind your big toe is your 1st metatarsal.  The bump is actually the 1st metatarsal that has moved away from the 2nd metatarsal.  Why does this happen?  Well, the true cause is still debated, but basically something has happened to your foot to cause the 1st metatarsal to move out from the line of your toe.  At a certain point the metatarsal has moved so far that you begin to see a bump and eventually your big toe moves toward the second toe.  The knob that is your first metatarsal can be painful, but most often the joint that is out of alignment is the true source of pain.

Shoes are not the cause!  Think about this…if your foot is unstable (pronated) and you wear a heel, you have just forced your foot to supinate or in other words become more stable.  If the shoe makes your foot more stable how could it cause the bunion?  Now in all honesty the narrow toe of a women’s dress shoe applies more pressure on the bunion and there is more weight on the ball of your foot when wearing heels so the bunion may become painful sooner because of the shoe.  Still it was not the shoe that caused, but rather it was the shoe that brought it to your attention.

At Desert Foot Surgeons a detailed exam of your bunion is performed to find the cause of your unstable foot.  Remember what I say, “It is easier to change your shoes than to change your foot”.  Still many times surgery is needed to correct the bunion.  Does this mean you can go back to heels with pointy toes?  The answer is maybe.  I can’t be more specific because everyone’s feet are different and your ability to heal differs from everyone else as well.  Desert Foot Surgeons has introduced “personalized foot care”, meaning we discuss your wants and desires related to what medical science says is the best treatment option and together we arrive at a plan to get you the best result possible.

Stop blaming your shoes for your bunion, it’s not their fault.  Actually the shoe has brought the problem to your attention sooner than a tennis shoe would have so you can get treatment earlier, which is always better.  See, shoes really are a girls best friend…or is that diamonds?  I’m a podiatrist, I get that mixed up sometimes.

Cosmetic Bunion Surgery and Hammertoe Surgery

What’s the first thing that came to mind when you saw the word “cosmetic” in the title?  Was it maybe breast implants or a face lift, tummy tuck or liposuction?  These are the traditional uses of the word cosmetic and refer to correcting problems in people, who in their opinion, need to look better in order to feel better.  Over the years it has become popular for people who can afford to undergo these same surgeries to enlarge their breasts, tighten the skin of their face to reduce wrinkles, and even remove fat from areas considered to be unsightly.

In the foot people can have unsightly problems and what’s worse pain.  A bunion is a lump on the inside of the foot behind the big toe.  The size can vary and the toe can begin to move closer to and even under the 2nd toe.  When the smaller toes are buckled that is a hammertoe.  Here’s the key:  because we wear shoes, bunions and hammertoes hurt much sooner than if we went barefoot all the time.  Let me make this perfectly clear, wearing shoes does not cause the deformity, but wearing shoes does make a deformity hurt sooner than it otherwise would.

Bunion and hammertoe surgery can be cosmetic, which in my opinion means the deformity will look better after corrected so that you feel better since pain will be gone.  That’s a little bit different from other forms of cosmetic surgery.  When I perform bunion surgery or hammertoe surgery I always keep in mind the fact that you will be walking on the end result for years to come.  Because the bunion and hammertoe develop in an unstable foot I have to make sure the problem does not return.  Face lifts, tummy tucks, or breast augmentation have their long term considerations, but honestly you will not be walking, hiking, or running on these parts of your body.

There are people who want to fit into those 4” spiked heels at any cost.  They want their wide foot narrowed and long toe shortened.  I’m not talking about business executives who have to maintain a specific style of dress in order to advance their career and suffer horrible pain in these shoes.  I’m talking about people who would otherwise have no pain, but insist on wearing these heels for social purposes.  I caution those people who do not have pain!  Foot surgery can result in scar within the joint leading to stiffness and arthritis.  There is no true preventive surgery for arthritis.

One final word.  Recently a Beverly Hills Podiatrist coined the term “Cinderella Surgery” for correcting a bunion, long 2nd toe, and bunionette (on the outside of the foot) so that women can wear their high heels.  He did a very nice piece on the television show, The Doctors.  My problem is this:  I always say, feet are like snowflakes no two are alike, well here is a podiatrist telling women he can perform the same procedures on their feet in every case so they can walk immediately after surgery and their feet will fit into their stilettos.  That is just not possible without making some sacrifices.  To read about these sacrifices that might be made check back every few days for my new articles on cosmetic bunion surgery and cosmetic hammertoe surgery.  

Cosmetic Bunion Surgery

That unsightly lump or bump on the inside of your foot behind your big toe is known as a bunion.  This is the hallmark of having an unstable foot.  When your foot won’t work in a stable position the bone behind your big toe (1st metatarsal) drifts toward the inside of your foot.  As the bump on the inside of your foot gets bigger, the big toe gradually slips off of the metatarsal and drifts toward the 2nd toe.  Think of it this way:  a table has a broken leg.  That table is no longer stable in that area.  If you begin to stack objects on the table, eventually the weight over the missing leg will build up and the table will tilt.  The bones along the inside of your arch are very important to maintaining a stable foot when you walk.  Having a bunion makes other areas of the foot unstable leading to hammertoes, arthritis in the back part of your foot, heel pain, inflamed tendons, on and on.

Because your bunion involves an unstable foot, surgery to correct the bunion has to take into consideration this issue of stability.  There are many different surgeries for correcting a bunion ranging from simply removing the lump, correcting the bone in various places, or fusing the joint at the base of the metatarsal.  Planning bunion surgery requires a thorough evaluation of your foot at rest, standing, and walking.  At Desert Foot Surgeons, I perform video gait analysis on all patients with bunions.  I am currently involved in a research project that will show other foot surgeons how to determine exactly where to correct a bunion for the most stable result.

Bunion surgery is very complicated because of the stability issue.  Other surgeons promoting aesthetic bunion surgery state that their surgery will work to, “maintain or enhance the mechanics of the foot”.  Many of these aesthetic foot surgeons also tell patients they can walk immediately after surgery.  That means that they are either just removing the bump or correcting the bone near the lump.  Medical research has shown that this approach to bunion surgery makes the big toe less stable leading to further loss of a stable 2nd toe causing a hammertoe and those other problems we talked about above.

My approach to bunion surgery is to use science and apply to your problem.  You and I will talk about the best surgery to correct your problem.  If you cannot cooperate with the recovery I will work with you to get to the point that you can manage the rehabilitation or suggest alternatives.  It is these alternatives that you  need to understand.  When alternatives are chosen you are making sacrifices.  In the case of a bunion you are usually sacrificing stability.  Think of the table with one broken leg.  If you repair the table leg with duct tape the table is still unstable and will eventually tilt and possibly break completely when objects are placed on the table.

As far as cosmetic bunion surgery, the placement of the scar has to allow the surgeon to clearly see the bone being worked on.  I don’t want you to have an ugly scar, so whenever possible I will hide the scar.  But fair warning, the bigger the bunion the less likely it will be to hide your scar.

When considering cosmetic surgery, remember the goal is to make your lump or bump look better and relieve pain.  If the scar can be hidden it will, but the key to correcting your problem is choosing the correct surgical procedure based on a thorough exam including gait analysis.  Performing an alternative surgery requires sacrifices be made on your part and the part of your surgeon.  When all is said and done, a scar, time off your foot, having to perform physical therapy are reasonable things in order to make pain go away and prevent the problem from returning.