Bunions have been around forever! And as long as they have been around, doctors have battled with the best ways to treat them. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) estimates that somewhere between 23%-35% of people have them.
First, what is a bunion?
A bunion is a painful bump on the inside of the foot at the big toe joint. They affect how people walk, how they fit into shoes, and their appearance. Bunions may stay constant for a persons entire lifetime or they may become progressively more severe, only time will tell.
How to fix them?
Classically, people have been offered two options: conservative treatments (nonsurgical, taping, splinting) or surgical correction. To date there have been over 150 different procedures to address this complex issue, all of which access and correct the bunion through an incision commonly 5-7cm in length.
What is minimally invasive foot surgery?
Because of pain, postoperative complication and prolonged recoveries following these procedures, minimally invasive surgery was employed to limit damage to the foot caused by surgery itself. The same techniques traditionally performed through large incisions can now be corrected through incisions only millimeters long using advanced instrumentation small enough to fit into a pinhole. Whereas traditional bunion procedures require stitches and scarring, nonweightbearing, casting and heavy sedation, new minimally invasive procedures require few or no stitches, minimal scarring, immediate walking after surgery, no casts and only mild sedation.
In the past, the field of Podiatric Surgery viewed minimally invasive surgery negatively. In the 1970s and 1980s knowledge regarding best practices to produce best outcomes was limited. The technique fell out of favor due to poor outcomes and was nearly completely abandoned until recently adopted by our European colleagues in 2011. Like many things today, A LOT has changed in 50 years. Now we have the latest technology combined with the most advanced understanding of the deformity to produce the absolute best outcomes, minimal pain, and faster recoveries than ever before.
Not all bunions are the same
In some instances and for a variety of reasons, minimally invasive surgery may not be best for the patient or their outcome. It is important to get a full evaluation to determine if the procedure is right for you. The technique has been handed down to and mastered by the physicians of Professional Foot & Ankle who are willing to introduce you to the technique and discuss the possibilities of a minimally invasive surgery with you, today!