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What Are Bunions?
A bunion is a bony bump at the joint of your big toe. Bunions are formed when your big toe pulls toward your other toes, forcing the joint at the base of your big toe to stick out. Bunions are common, complex deformities of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. Because this joint flexes with every step you take, bunions can grow in size, making any type of shoe you wear uncomfortable and even lead to pain when walking.
Smaller bunions can be found on the joint of your pinky toe. These are called bunionettes. Whether you have a bunion or bunionette depends on the location of the bump: the smallest toe or the biggest one.
When Should You See a Specialist?
Bunion pain can often be relieved by wearing wider shoes or a protective pad. However, if you have ongoing pain especially when walking or during daily activities, decreased mobility, or difficulty finding shoes that fit, contact us to make an appointment.
Treatment for Bunions
Bunion treatment options depend on the severity of the bunion and will be determined by an x-ray. Surgery is not always the answer for bunions. There are conservative measures that can help relieve the pain and pressure, including steroid injections, which relieve the pain by reducing inflammation. Wearing the right kind of shoes and certain orthotics can also help relieve the pressure from bunions.
Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Surgery
A common misconception is that a bunion is an overgrowth that can simply be shaved off. Traditional surgeries would use a 2D approach, cutting the bone of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint in half and shifting the top part over to lessen the appearance of the bump. However, these procedures do not correct the root problem of bunions — an unstable foundation at the MTP joint. In fact, up to 70% of bunion patients that underwent traditional surgery had their bunions return over time.1
At South Shore Foot and Ankle, we perform the patented Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction procedure to fix the root cause behind bunions. During Lapiplasty® surgery, we will rotate the entire deviated bone back into its normal anatomical position, which will naturally straighten your toe, remove the “bump” and associated pain. Two low-profile, anatomically-shaped titanium plates will permanently secure the unstable foundation of your corrected bunion.
Traditional 2D Surgery
Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion CorrectionTM
Recovery time for Lapiplasty® surgery is reduced, allowing patients to walk within days of surgery. Even if you have previously been treated for bunions, patients can experience the same benefits from Lapiplasty®, with a permanently secured foundational joint this time around. View the recovery timeline and discover the difference a 3D solution can make.
Outpatient surgery usually takes under an hour, unless your doctor is performing additional procedures at the same time.
6 Weeks Walking In a Surgical Boot
At 6 – 8 Weeks You Can Wear Tennis Shoes
3 – 4 Months You Can Return to High-Impact Activities
After four months, you should be able to return to most activities and most footwear
Note that this timeline is an estimate and can be shorter or longer depending on the patient and their diagnosis.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lapiplasty®
How long does it take to recover from a Lapiplasty® procedure?
Patients are typically walking within days of surgery. Patients can return to most occupations within days to a couple of weeks, wearing a surgical boot. Within six weeks, you can expect to be walking in comfortable shoes such as tennis shoes, however you should not plan on any high-impact activities for 3-4 months. Short shopping trips and leisurely strolls are examples of the types of activities that should be fine at this point. Around the 4-month mark post-op, you should be able to return to most activities and most footwear.2
Can I wear fashionable shoes again?
The Lapiplasty® procedure allows most patients to return to their desired shoes. Of course, some fashionable shoes can be painful (even with a normal foot!), so results can vary from person to person and shoe to shoe.
Can I play sports after a Lapiplasty® procedure?
Yes, there are no permanent activity limitations after the Lapiplasty® Procedure. Most patients are able to return to most activities after the bones have completely healed at approximately 4 months.2
Can the Lapiplasty® procedure be performed on someone who has previously had traditional bunion surgery?
Yes, the Lapiplasty® procedure is an option that can be utilized by your doctor when a revision is required. Even if previously treated, patients can experience the same benefits from Lapiplasty® – with a permanently secured foundational joint this time around.
I’ve heard the term “repoducible” used when describing the Lapiplasty® procedure. What does that mean?
“Reproducible” means that a procedure is easily repeatable with expected results. The Lapiplasty® procedure utilizes precision, patented instrumentation designed to take the guesswork and “eyeballing” out of bunion surgery; helping ensure your surgeon can get reliable results over and over.
Can the Lapiplasty® procedure be performed as an outpatient procedure and how long does it last?
Yes, Lapiplasty® surgeries are performed as outpatient procedures. Typically, the surgery will last just under an hour. If your doctor is performing any additional procedures at the same time, the surgery may take longer.
1. Jeuken RM, et al. Foot Ankle Int. 2016. 37:687-95.
2. MacMahon, A, et al. Foot Ankle Int. 2016. 37: 378-85.