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Published on October 25, 2021

Man sitting on a couch with one shoe off, clutching his foot in pain

New bunion surgery will get you back on your feet faster

Have you been nursing a bunion for a while? Perhaps, you’ve been putting off surgery, but the pain is starting to affect your quality of life.

There’s good news.

Gundersen Health System podiatrist Bradley Abicht, DPM, FACFAS offers a new less invasive type of bunion surgery. In fact, he’s the only Mifoot-trained MIS surgeon at Gundersen and within a 200-mile radius of La Crosse (mifoot.life).

What are the different kinds of bunion surgery?

Unlike traditional or “open” bunion surgery—which is known for causing pain and swelling—minimum incision surgical (MIS) correction of bunions has been shown to be significantly less painful with less swelling. Dr. Abicht says patients do very well using only over-the-counter pain medication after the same-day surgery and can often avoid the need for stronger narcotic pain medication.

With MIS correction of bunions, the surgeon performs correction and reconstruction of the bunion deformity by making tiny incisions. Implants are used to correct and stabilize the bunion. By contrast, during open bunion surgery, one larger incision is made on the top or side of the bunion and big toe joint to allow for removal or realignment of soft tissue and bone.

The minimally invasive approach avoids the great toe joint, so patients typically have less joint stiffness after surgery compared to open techniques. Also, because the incisions are small, the damage to the soft tissue is less—resulting in less pain, fewer infections, smaller cosmetically pleasing scars and a faster recovery.

When can I walk normally after bunion surgery?

Speaking of recovery, another advantage of minimally invasive bunion surgery is that you can bear weight on your foot immediately after surgery using a surgical shoe. “For the first four to six weeks after surgery, patients should walk in a surgical shoe before transitioning into regular, supportive shoe gear. By three to four months post-op, patients can resume athletic-type activity,” Dr. Abicht notes.

This is not the case with open bunion surgery that often requires patients to be non-weightbearing or minimally weightbearing for six to eight weeks after surgery.

Is surgery right for me?

If you’ve developed a bunion, it’s important to see a foot doctor. Signs that surgery may be needed include:

  • You’re in pain every day
  • You can no longer enjoy an active lifestyle
  • You have limited shoe choices
  • You’ve tried non-surgical treatments—like wide shoe gear, pain medication, padding, toe spacers, or bunion shields/splints—without relief

What’s the best bunion treatment?

Dr. Abicht says the best treatment for bunions is a shared decision that’s determined by you and your foot doctor.

“There are different levels of severity of bunions and many factors that can affect a patient’s treatment plan for their bunion. If surgery is indicated and desired, there are many advantages of correcting a bunion through a MIS surgical approach,” Dr. Abicht says.

Take the first step. Call (608) 775-2427 to schedule an appointment. You can see a podiatrist at Gundersen without a referral from your primary care provider.

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