Traditionally the treatment for a bunion, an irritating, sore, red lump at the base of the big toe was a traumatic operation. This procedure was dramatic and involved removing part of the bone of the toe after surgically opening up tissue and detaching the bone joints.
This was a seriously invasive treatment which no patients looked forward to and was especially painful. It also meant that treatment had to be done only one step at a time, with one foot being operated on first so the patient could at least walk on one leg securely while the other one healed. This of course meant that the patient had to return for similarly painful treatment on the other foot soon after.
Patients would normally undergo a general anaesthetic and inevitably scarring would occur. Another serious issue was that normal shoes would be unbearable in the first year after treatment owing to the significant pain that patients would experience.
It is inevitable then that the majority of the millions of patients in Britain who suffer from bunions each year choose not to undergo such a traumatic and long-winded treatment.
It is also interesting that more than 80% of the suffering are women. Many have the procedure carried out on one foot but choose not to have the other one treated because of the associated problems outlined above.
However if they are not medically treated, these growths can become exceedingly painful, even unsightly, and the condition may actually lead to some form of arthritis.
A new ground breaking treatment has since become available on the NHS. There is only a short recovery time necessary and no scars are left afterwards.
Care UK’s Orthopaedic Treatment Centre (NHS) in Sussex have developed a new keyhole surgery procedure. This technique uses minimally invasive therapy but still follows the necessary medical solutions of previous bunion removal therapy.
Dr Joel Vernois, said: “Bunions are most commonly hereditary. They are more common in females because female hormones act to soften foot tissue and high-heeled shoes can make an existing problem worse.”
“These new keyhole techniques are commonplace in surgery but haven’t been used to treat bunions in the past. This was largely because doctors thought that the bunions might return if it was used.
This treatment uses screws to fix the joint after surgery but it is done using many small incisions, which is much healthier for the foot,” added Dr Vernois. The new treatment means that there is less pain after the operation and swelling is greatly reduced, meaning patients can go back to their normal shoes very quickly.