By Dr. Paul Steinke
Bunions are a very common problem, that unfortunately get neglected by sufferers of this painful condition. About 30% of women in the U.S. will experience them but men are also at risk.1 Bunions can affect people at any time – even as teenagers. While many of us are aware of the effect a bunion can have on the appearance of the foot, the problem can bring more serious complications than an unsightly bump on the toe.
A bunion is a bone deformity caused by an unstable joint in the middle of the foot. Eventually, it causes the big toe to drift out of alignment — creating a visible bump. The condition is progressive and cannot correct itself. If left untreated, it can deteriorate to the point where it cannot be corrected conservatively. The effect of painful bunions can be devastating — patients who enjoy being active and going to the gym often have trouble simply walking around the grocery store without excruciating pain as their condition worsens.
During initial evaluation and treatment in our office, we often recommend that bunion patients try conservative options, like wider shoes, padding and orthotics to accommodate the deformity and reduce pain. Next, if conservative care fails or deformity is severe, surgery is discussed.
Most physicians offer a traditional 2-Dimensional “osteotomy” surgery where the protruding bone is cut and shifted resulting in a curved abnormal bone, alleviating pain but not stabilizing the source of the deformity. With this option, patients often face a long recovery with no weight-bearing for weeks and there is a high risk that the bunion will return over time. Traditional 2D bunion surgery does not address the unstable joint in the middle of the foot.2,3 In fact, when I began practicing podiatry there were over 100 surgical options for bunion patients and, yet, none of them were ideal.
In 2019 I began performing an innovative procedure called Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction™ and it has made an extraordinary difference in the lives of my patients suffering from bunions.
Unlike traditional 2D surgery, the Lapiplasty® Procedure addresses the misalignment of the great toe in 3 dimensions, returning the bone to true normal anatomic alignment, something traditional bunion surgery cannot do.
Through use of 2 small patented titanium plates, I am able to permanently secure the unstable joint in the middle of the foot that is the source of the deformity and quickly get my patients back on their feet in a walking boot with crutches on the day of their surgery. In addition the Lapiplasty® System has demonstrated a low rate of recurrence of 1 to 3 percent.4,5
Though Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction™ was only recently introduced, I have already treated patients from all walks of life using this technique from ages 14 to 74, with unparalleled results compared to the previous bunion procedure options. The technique is an option for patients who have undergone previous traditional bunion procedures as well as those who have never received treatment. Many athletes who fear that they will never be able to compete again are able to return to training within a few months of their procedure.
This past July I performed the Lapiplasty® Procedure on a 50-year-old woman, Tonya, from Burleson whose lifestyle requires her to be on her feet. She works as a mobility specialist with visually impaired children and young adults, preparing them for independent living by teaching them how to use canes or other mobility devices, assistive technology and public transportation. Outside of work, she is very active – enjoying water sports, snow skiing, golfing, fishing and two-stepping with her husband. After years of trying to remain active with her bunion the pain became so severe that her leisure activities and ability to perform her job were threatened.
Tonya had spent some time over the years researching potential treatments for her bunion and knew that a 2D procedure was not the right option for her. After her extensive research, we met and after discussion she elected to undergo the Lapiplasty® Procedure on July 20, 2020. Two months after the procedure, she was back to wearing a normal tennis shoe, walking, and bike riding. According to Tonya, “I was really surprised about the lack of pain I had after surgery and how fast my recovery was. My friends and family were shocked at how quickly I was back to walking around, in a boot, and doing my own shopping.”
The most rewarding part of my job is when I am able to return my patients to the activities they love, and, in my opinion, the Lapiplasty® System does not have an equal when it comes to bunion correction techniques available to achieve that goal.
Seeing them return to running marathons, playing sports, or simply running errands without experiencing the severe pain and discomfort from bunions is gratifying. I am always pleased to offer Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction™ to my patients.
For more information about the Lapiplasty® Procedure, including risks associated with surgery, visit www.alignmytoe.com. To reach me directly contact Foot and Ankle Associates of North Texas, LLC at 817-416-6155 or visit www.3Dbuniondoc.com.
- Nix S, et al. J Foot Ankle Res. 2010. 27:3:21.
- Okuda R, et al. JBJS. 2007. 89:2163-72.
- Jeuken RM, et al. Foot Ankle Int. 2016. 37:687-95.
- Ray J, et al. Foot Ankle Int. 2019 Aug;40(8):955-960.
- Dayton P, et al. J Foot Ankle Surg. 2020, 59(2): 291-297.
About Paul Steinke, DPM
Dr. Paul Steinke is board certified by ABFAS in both Foot and Rearfoot Reconstructive Rearfoot and Ankle Surgery. Dr. Steinke loves to stay active and enjoys running, golfing, hiking, woodworking and spending time with his wife and children. His goal is to keep you active doing those things that his patients enjoy without restrictions. He can be reached at faant.com or by calling Foot and Ankle Associates of North Texas, LLC at 817-416-6155.
About Treace Medical Concepts, Inc. Headquartered in Ponte Vedra, Florida, Treace Medical Concepts, Inc. – the manufacturer of Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction™ – is a foot and ankle company focused on designing, manufacturing and marketing devices and biologic solutions foot and ankle surgeons that improve surgical efficiencies and patient outcomes, while reducing healthcare costs.