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Battling Bunions: March 29, 2017

They can be painful and embarrassing. Studies show millions of people live with bunions on their feet. Dr. Michael Black, a podiatrist on staff with Lee Health, says patients will typically choose to have surgery to remove the bunions. “The term bunion really implies a bump on the inside portion of the foot just behind the big toe joint.”

But now doctors say that bump could cause another problem. “What a lot of people don’t realize is in most cases it’s not just a bump, it’s actually a misalignment issue of the bones within the bones themselves,” said Dr. Black.

Bunions can be caused by shoes or genetics. Doctors are also finding that many times bunions are linked to instability of ligaments within the foot. “Historically, bunion surgery started off as shaving that painful bump on the inside of the foot, and our understanding of this has grown over the years to really focus on shaving the bump if it’s present but also correcting the mechanical misalignment of the foot,” said Dr. Black.

Before surgery, doctors not only examine the bunion they also take a close look at the toes, arch, heel, and front part of the foot.  “It can come back if the only procedure done is shaving the bump and the person has a mechanical misalignment issue,” said Dr. Black,

If doctors believe the patient also has instability on the foot they may do more than just remove the bunion during surgery. “We would talk to them about not only shaving the bump but reconstructing the foot and realigning the bone so that we can decrease the chance of this problem trying to come back over time,” said Dr. Black.

Fixing both problems during surgery can prevent the bunion from coming back.

 


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