Health Headlines: Minimally invasive procedure to correct bunions

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 8:56 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A new procedure is providing relief to people who suffer from bunions, without the complications of a major surgery.

The average American takes approximately 4,000 to 6,000 steps a day. In fact, most Americans travel 75,000 miles on their feet by the time they reach 50, so it’s not surprising that 75 percent of people will suffer from foot pain at least once in their lives.

“They [bunions] can be worsened by high heels. The strongest factor for developing a bunion is usually genetics,” said Dr. David Garras.

Some foot cushions and socks are sold as “bunion correctors.”

“They can alleviate some of the pain or what have you. They cannot correct the bunion,” Garras said.

Kathleene Faragai-Moke has had bunions since she was a teen.

“It was a shooting pain, even like, if I was just standing still, I didn’t even have to be walking,” she said.

The traditional way most doctors correct a bunion is through open surgery that can be painful with a long recovery time. Now, some orthopedic surgeons are using a minimally invasive bunionectomy.

“What she ended up having is a bunionectomy done through about four or five small little poke hole incisions,” Garras said.

Through those holes, he was able to cut the bone using a small burr. Surgery time is the same for both, but with the minimally invasive procedure, incisions are smaller, and there is less soft tissue damage, bleeding, scarring, swelling and pain.

“I would say by the second week, I was walking on my heel,” Faragai-Moke said. “Changed my life. I never have pain in my feet. I wear sandals again. I don’t have to wear wide shoes anymore. It was great.”

Garras said not everyone is a candidate for bunionectomy. It works best on someone who has a moderate to severe bunion, and no arthritis or midfoot collapse.