Bunions are a very frequent foot ailment. It affects mainly women and is characterized by the deviation of the hallux towards the other toes.
It often appears together with the hammer toe, that is the overlapping of the second toe on the hallux. “The second toe tends to bend upwards and to overlap on the diverted hallux. Thus, the toe hits constantly the shoe and forces the patient to ask an orthopedist for help”, Doctor Leonardo Maradei, Supervisor of Minimally Invasive Foot Surgery at Humanitas, explains.
The Causes of a Bunion
The deformity may depend on many causes. First of all, the presence of other cases in your family is a reliable predictor. The use of narrow shoes and high heels significantly fastens the development of bunions. In other cases, bunions may depend on foot lesions, some types of arthritis or issues such as weight, posture or muscles problems.
What Should You do if you have a Bunion?
“Bunions require an orthopaedic examination with a specialist because this condition affects the way you walk and overloads your metatarsus.
The treatment may be conservative, with corrective orthopaedic insoles, but the majority of cases requires surgery to solve the symptoms.
Traditional surgery, via the opening of skin and underlying tissues, allows the correction of the deformity. We remove a part of the bone and perform osteotomies. That way, we can insert materials to support the hallux and restore its original position”, Doctor Maradei explains.Minimally Invasive Surgery
“Traditional surgery is not the only option. There are also other procedures, such as Percutaneous Distal Osteotomy (PDO), that is an osteotomy through an incision a few millimetres large. The correction is maintained via the insertion of a metal wire (the so-called Kirschner wire, or K-wire) that will be removed in day care after four weeks.
When it is possible, minimally invasive surgery (MIS) plays an important role in the correction of bunions and also in the correction of hammer toes and other deformities. It requires tiny incisions on the skin and no synthetic materials.
These minimally invasive procedures have many advantages. Less pain for patients, diminished risk of infections and skin necrosis and rapid recovery. In fact, patients are able to walk right after the surgery, even though the definitive recovery requires the natural healing of the bone.
After a PDO, patients will have to wear an orthopaedic shoe to walk after the surgery. Instead, after an MIS they will need comfortable shoes for a month”, Doctor Maradei says.