A bunion (clinically known as Hallux Valgus) causes the big toe to angle inward towards the 2nd toe. This results in a bony hump (the bunion) forming at the base of your big toe which protrudes outward. A bunion can also develop on your little toe and it is frequently referred to as a bunionette. Bunions, though not a common topic of conversation, affect a large portion of the population. In the US, according to the Journal of Foot & Ankle Research, 25% of people between the ages of 18 – 65 years old, and a whopping 67% of people over the age of 65, suffer with bunions. It affects women more than men and the latest data suggests that more than 50% of US women have bunions!
The reason women are more prone to developing a bunion is largely related to all those fashionable high-heeled shoes. Years of wearing tight, poorly fitting, pointed shoes can cause bunions to develop and the toes to deform. While most bunions are caused by shoe wear some can be hereditary.
Bunions can be extremely painful which means a higher percentage of people are now seeking treatment options earlier in life. There are many non-surgical treatment options such as Bunion Booties, orthotic shoe inserts, injections and changing from high heels to proper fitting shoes, but oftentimes the relief is temporary as the bunion and deformity is already present. If the pain becomes more than you can bear, you may want to consider surgery. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 85 – 90% of those who opt for bunion surgery are satisfied with their results. Some surgeons may want to perform a fusion to eliminate the pain that comes from moving the big toe and others prefer to shave off the bunion or bone spur and realign the toe with corrective surgery. If you opt for a fusion procedure, be aware that your toe will be permanently fused together and unable to bend. This limits movement and may restrict activities and work, especially for very active or physically demanding jobs or activities. As we get older healing takes longer so recovery is not always quick.
Arthrosurface offers several options from toe implants to fusion systems, and most recently the KISSloc Suture System to help correct bunion deformities. The procedure is similar to other bunion surgeries in that the bone bump is removed and the toe realigned, however instead of cutting through the bones to perform the realignment, a special self-cinching suture construct is passed through two very small tunnels. This is so the first and second toe can be pulled back into alignment. By correcting the angle between the 1st and 2nd Toe, the normal alignment is restored and the healing/recovery is much quicker as no bone was cut.