If you’re a runner and you’ve noticed your feet look more like mangled claws than feet these days, you’ve probably considered foot surgery. But which is worse: the pain of walking each day on bunions and hammertoes or the pain of surgery?

What does surgery for common foot woes (such as bunions, hammertoes, nerve enlargement, tendon rupture, and heel pain) entail? Are there complications? Is it worth it? These are the sort of questions everyone should ask themselves before considering options like bunion surgery. Here are five things every woman with aching feet should know:

1.) Many foot conditions have non-surgical options. If your feet or ankles are in pain, it’s often best to treat using the RICE trick (rest, ice, compression, elevation) first and foremost. When that fails to eliminate pain or the pain is very obviously chronic in nature, it’s best to speak to a podiatrist & foot surgeon to see what sort of options they have available and what their recommendation is. In general, most foot and ankle specialists have options like physical therapy, orthotics, injections, and new shoes at their disposal- at our office, we have the MLS Laser therapy for foot pain as an additional treatment option.

2.) Bunions get worse over time. That nagging little bunion you developed in your twenties is likely going to get worse, not better, over the years. Bunions are a common complaint for women, particularly because shoe choices can cause an immense amount of pain due to rubbing and poor fit because of the alteration of the foot structure due to the boney growth. Most bunions will need a surgical solution for long term satisfaction- the non surgical options like the neoprene toe aligners won’t change the fact that the bone is continuing to grow and alter the foot shape.

3.) Most foot surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. You’ll be fitted with a boot for protection of the surgical site, and you may need crutches for a short period, but more often than not you won’t need to miss time from work or stay in a hospital. You should be prepared to stay in the boot for quite some time, so no heels or intense exercise – though you might be allowed to exercise on a stationary bike after healing a bit.

4.) Complications are rare, but it’s important to find the best foot surgeon when you do decide it’s time for the surgical option. Complications can include infection and nerve injury- we encourage those seeking surgery to contact our office for a consultation to make sure that know everything about the surgery, and that it’s performed by our skilled foot surgeon.

5.) Most foot surgery is covered by insurance, but it does depend on your carrier. We recommend you verify your insurance with our practice to get started, and then speak to our doctors to find out the best option for you.

Luckily, for most patients, there is a pain-free light at the end of the tunnel. For instance, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, bunion surgery comes with an 85 to 90 percent post-surgery satisfaction rate. It’s a wonderful option, particularly for women, as it affects the aesthetic of the foot and your ability to wear shoes normally again. Nobody should suffer with foot pain- call us today to find out what your best option is!