A bunion is a painful and unsightly bump on the inside of the big toe. There is an association with shoe wear (narrow, high heeled shoes) as well as with a family history of bunions. The medical term for a bunion is hallux valgus. It is in effect a deformity of the big toe, giving rise to abnormal pressure on the inside. It tends to worsen over time. We perform two types of procedures for bunions, namely a proximal or a distal procedure. The decision is based on special angles measured from the X-rays. In both cases the bone is cut through, repositioned and the fixed into a new position with screws. This improves the alignment. In addition, a soft tissue balancing procedure is performed to help keep the toe in the corrected position. The surgery takes about 1 hour.
The foot is put into a special plaster cast. This is kept for a total of 4-6 weeks. In the case of a distal procedure, weight bearing is allowed on the cast in a plaster shoe. In the case of a proximal procedure, full weight bearing is discouraged and crutches are used. The patient is normally discharged on the day after surgery. Once the cast is removed, exercises will need to be done to loosen up the joints around the big toe. Driving can usually commence once the bone is healed, but will be guided by the surgeon.
The foot contains a large number of structures and due to the stresses on these during walking and running, multiple foot problems may occur. These can range from painful callosities to neuroma. Many chronic medical conditions can also lead to foot deformities like Charcot foot that need specialised treatment. Most of these conditions can be treated in our practice