There are over three million cases of bunions each year in the U.S., and this foot condition is more common in women. If you suffer from bunions, you know they cause a lot of pain and can damage your feet over time. In general, there are two common surgical treatments for bunions: osteotomy and fusion surgery. However, a new way to treat bunions is a procedure called Lapiplasty.
Lapiplasty is a patented treatment that has marked success with bunion correction. In the past, the most common treatment for a bunion was for a podiatrist or surgeon to shave off the extra bone on the bunion then cut into the end of the big toe to realign the big toe bones. However, this procedure is painful and not always effective. It’s also not a safe solution for patients whose bunions recur and need surgery as a regular fix.
Instead of traditional surgery, Lapiplasty instead uses special instruments to rotate the deviated bone back into its normal position. This straightens the toe and stops the pain. Titanium plating is then used to secure the unstable foundation, which is usually the root cause of bunions.
How to Know if It’s a Bunion
A bunion is a bump that forms on the outside of the big toe. It develops at the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint—where the toe meets the foot. This foot condition develops over time and can cause your big toe to turn inward and even over the toe next to it. Along with experiencing a great deal of pain, you may have other signs of a bunion.
Signs of a Bunion
- Swelling, redness, or soreness around the joint
- Corns or calluses where your toes overlap
- Stiff range of motion
Causes of Bunions
- Shoes that don’t fit properly and/or cramp your toes
- Medical conditions that make your joints swell such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Inherited foot anatomy
- Foot injuries
- Birth deformities
If you experience one bunion, you are likely to get others in the future, which is why Lapiplasty can be so beneficial to those whose bunions recur.
Recovering From Lapiplasty
Lapiplasty is an outpatient procedure, so you usually go home the same day. You will likely be sent home in a walking boot to prevent placing too much weight on your foot. You may also be prescribed a knee scooter to help you “walk” long distances for the days after surgery.
The day of surgery, as well as for the days following, you should rest your foot as much as possible. Try to limit activity to only essential movement, and follow all directions provided by your doctor.
At-Home Recovery Tips
- Ice your foot for 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off the first day after surgery. After day 1, this can be reduced to 4 times per day.
- Gently wiggle your toe twice a day for several minutes. This helps to prevent scar tissue.
- Leave your surgical bandages in place until the doctor tells you to remove them or they remove them.
- Take pain meds as prescribed, even if you feel you don’t need them. It is difficult to get ahead of the pain once you’ve missed doses.
- Use a cast protector anytime you bathe.
About a week or two after surgery, you will likely have X-rays taken and your dressings changed by the podiatrist or an assistant. If sutures were used, those will be removed between two and six weeks post-op.
What to Discuss With Your Doctor
If you are experiencing bunion pain, it is a good idea to reach out to a podiatrist to discuss treatment options. If you’re thinking of Lapiplasty, there are questions you should ask about the procedure. These questions can help you better understand Lapiplasty as a treatment and what recovery is like.
Questions About Lapiplasty
- How invasive is the procedure?
- What long is the recovery time?
- What special arrangements will I need to make in terms of transportation to and from the procedure, and what help will I need for aftercare?
- Will this procedure be covered by my insurance?
Are You Looking for a Bunion Specialist in Austin, TX?
If you are looking for bunion care, you should reach out to an experienced podiatrist. Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists can help. Our office provides a wide variety of advanced, effective treatment options for all kinds of painful conditions. Ready to schedule an appointment? Contact us online or call our Austin office at 512.328.8900.