What causes this raging pain? The bunion (Hallux valgus) affects the performance of the foot. The function of the first fore foot beam is weakened – this is the part of the foot from the big toe to the first metatarsal. As a result, the rest of the foot bears more and more weight when walking and rolling, putting stress on the foot. The pressure on the sole of the foot increases, calluses grow and pain is the result. The foot has fallen out of balance. At this stage, the joint at the big toe dislocates, the capsule gets affected and tendons shrink – all in all an horrific scenario for the foot.
Is it more difficult to operate on a deformed foot? Yes, because the position of the joints are usually very fixed and rigid. Damage and wear and tear are well advanced. Nevertheless, almost every complex fore foot deformity can be corrected with the new, gentle surgical methods.
What happens after the operation? The procedure is performed as an outpatient and the patient leaves the clinic on foot, immediately able to put full weight on their foot/feet. A wire is introduced into the foot as a kind of internal splint and stabilises the foot. The wire will be removed pain free after four weeks. The patient will have to wear special sandals for about 6 weeks to protect the operated foot/feet.
What happens when both feet are damaged? In 90 per cent of cases, both feet are operated on at the same time, simply because the patient can walk immediately after the operation. The patient is therefore self-sufficient and not dependent on post-op care. Hours of walking and standing in the early stages after the operation is not advised, however, after weight-bearing intervals the foot should be rested and cooled.
How long does the healing process after surgery take? After four weeks the wire is removed you will be asked to wear the Darco bandage for another 2 weeks to support the foot further. After that you can start wearing wider shoes and gradually get back into your nice shoes with heels. The bones will heal completely over the next 8 weeks. Should swelling occur, lymphatic drainage and cooling will help.
What are the risks of foot surgery? Due to the micro-invasive surgical method, which does not require large incisions, the risks are relatively minimal. In the last 10 years, over 8,500 patients have had the procedure and did not experience any major complications.
How successful is this operation? As part of a multi-centre post-operation study, involving American results for the methods of refurbishment and conversion of the foot bones in minimally invasive techniques, a high success rate of good and excellent results was found in patients who had had the intervention more than six years previously .
Are the feet bigger after surgery? The feet reach their original size again. The bunion leading to the surgery will have changed the shape of the foot and in a few cases, the operated foot will be slightly narrower as before.
What rehabilitation measures are necessary after surgery? A targeted physiotherapy is only required in exceptional cases. In general, constant movement of the toes, lymphatic drainage, as well as spreading and stretching exercises, is enough to strengthen the muscles. When walking, you should pay particular attention to the rolling of the feet so that the function of the metatarsophalangeal joints and the erected arch are back to normal.
How long until the foot is fully recovered? After about 7 weeks, the foot is fully stabilised so the patient can take up the usual activities at work, home and sports again. Considering the foot had been deformed for a decade or more, this course of treatment is extremely short.