A Tough Call: Bunion Surgery for Teens

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Bunion Against White BackgroundThe teen years are a time of transition. The body and the brain develop rapidly, friend groups adjust, and your children start making decisions for themselves, seeking independence. These are all normal milestones and changes that parents seen in their sons and daughters. One change in the feet that teens can develop isn’t normal, though: a juvenile bunion. This uncomfortable deformity can worry teens and parents alike, as well as introduce important questions about treatments like bunion surgery.

Bunions can occur at any age. They are a common forefoot deformity that develops under excessive and prolonged pressure. In teenagers, usually the problem develops because the joint where the big toe and the first metatarsal meet is too flexible. Excessive pressure from overpronation or bad footwear can then easily change the alignment of the bones.

Your teen doesn’t want to live with bunion pain any more than you do, of course. The big question, then, is how to best take care of it. Many parents immediately want to know if their son or daughter will need bunion surgery to deal with the problem. The good news is that the answer is usually “no.” For the vast majority of teens, conservative methods alleviate pain and slow the deformity form progressing.

Surgery is reserved for the few teens who have significant pain and don’t respond to conservative methods. It’s a “last resort” option to correct the deformity and eliminate the problem. The procedure for teens is usually much more complicated than the kinds used on adult feet, which can result in a longer healing time. The risks are higher, too, particularly for re-developing the problem later in life. So when might bunion surgery be a realistic and beneficial option for your teen? It’s best for youths whose feet have finished growing. If your teenager’s feet aren’t getting bigger, the pain is consistent and impairs normal life, and conservative care doesn’t help, a surgical procedure may be your child’s best treatment.

You won’t have to make a decision about surgery all on your own. Our team of experts at Podiatry Associates, P.C. will help you determine if this is best option for your son or daughter. Contact our Castle Pines or Parker, CO, offices today for a consultation. Call (303) 805-5156 to reach us, or use our online request form.

Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM
Founder and Owner of Podiatry Associates, PC
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