White Plains Hospital specializes in a minimally invasive procedure for bunions that is less painful provides a faster recovery than traditional surgeries.
It is estimated that almost a quarter of people ages 18-65 have bunions – the sometimes painful and usually unsightly deformity on the inside of the foot at the base of the big toe.
While some new evidence suggests that bunions may be hereditary, they are most commonly caused by improper footware – such as high heels and other shoes with narrow toe boxes. The protrusion or “bump” is formed when the bone on the innermost side of the foot is pushed outward, while the big toe bone is moved inward.
As the foremost foot and ankle surgeon in Westchester County, Dr. James McWilliam has pioneered cutting-edge techniques in the advanced treatment of bunions at White Plains Hospital. Here, he answers some of the most common questions about this bothersome condition:
How are bunions treated?
Avoiding high heels with a narrow toe box is best way to stop progression of the condition, and relieve any pain that comes along with it, notes Dr. McWilliam. Padding of the prominent bone may also relieve pressure and discomfort. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that bracing, taping, splinting or orthotics will correct or prevent progression of deformity, he says.
What are the latest surgical techniques?
Dr. McWilliam has been performing minimally invasive bunion surgery for almost 10 years. New minimally invasive techniques are helping to transform the experience for patients looking to treat their bunions surgically. More specifically, these procedures result in:
- Smaller incisions just millimeters long
- Less disruption of soft tissues around the site, meaning less swelling
- More precision and accuracy through the use of X-Ray during the procedure, leading to faster recovery
In addition, specialized fixation techniques rigidly hold the corrected bones in place during healing, resulting in less pain and allowing for early weight bearing.
How soon can I walk and get back to the activities I love after surgery?
“The surgeries that I do will allow patients to put weight on their foot almost immediately afterward,” notes Dr. McWilliam. “That’s really important so patients can return to some semblance of a normal life as quickly as possible.”
Patients are allowed to walk in a special shoe as soon as the nerve blocks wear off (24-36 hours). They will then use a special shoe or boot for 4 weeks, before they transition to a sneaker with an insert.
“Most people are able to return to full activity without restriction 8 to 12 weeks after surgery, really regardless of the type of surgery we do,” notes Dr. McWilliam. “This is one of the reasons why this procedure is becoming so common. More patients are demanding it as a simple and effective solution to a difficult problem.”