What is a bunion (Hallux Valgus)?

The bunion bump is an easily recognizable deformity of the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the base of the big toe. This misalignment causes the big toe to turn inward and forces the joint to jut outward creating the bump. Bunions are painful, interfering with walking and exercising. The misaligned joint pushes the other toes over or under the big toe, and can cause hammertoes, ingrown toenails and corns.

Importantly, a stable MTP joint is essential for a wide range of weight bearing activities.  A bunion can seriously impair foot function, affecting not only the bones, but also the tendons and ligaments. Foot conditions are a significant cause of disability in older women.

Who gets bunions?

Bunions are ten times more common in women. Bunions progressively worsen with age. 23% of women aged 18-65 and 36% of women older than 65 have bunions. The average age at diagnosis is 66 when the bunion becomes so painful that it significantly limits activity, quality of life, and footwear options.

What causes a bunion?

Bunion formation is complex. Bunions start out slowly and worsen over time. Bunions usually start with foot imbalances caused by the shape and structure of the foot and is likely why bunions run in families.

Recent research has reported that bunion formation begins with a rotation of the first metatarsal bone. In fact, 85% of bunion patients have rotation of the first metatarsal bone (third plane deformity) which has historically been overlooked and not addressed with traditional bunion surgery.

The MTP bone is misaligned in three dimensions, it is vertical and horizontally misaligned and rotated. Traditional bunion surgery addresses only two problems, the vertical and horizontal misalignment of the MTP bone. Because the remaining third anatomic dimension, rotation, is not treated with traditional bunion surgery, more than 50% of patients suffer recurrence of their bunion within a few years of the surgery.

Now there is a better way. A new procedure called Lapiplasty is a game changer. All Ortho Illinois podiatric surgical providers are certified by the surgeon who developed and patented this revolutionary technique.

What is lapiplasty?

Lapiplasty is a “3D Bunion Correction” a paradigm shift in surgical correction. For the first time, this surgery allows for the correction of the bunion in 3 anatomic dimensions for complete anatomical alignment and stabilization of the unstable MTP joint which is the root cause of bunion formation.

With lapiplasty the metatarsal bone is fully repaired using specialized instrumentation. The procedure realigns the bone, corrects the rotation, removes the bunion bump and straightens the big toe. Titanium plates permanently secure the  joint to retain the correction.

The advantages include:

  • Shorter non-weight bearing post-operative protocol; earlier return to weight bearing.
  • Improved range of motion of the big toe joint after surgery as compared to traditional bunion surgery.
  • Long-term correction and a very low rate of bunion recurrence (3.3%) according to the most recently published research.

This revolutionary procedure permanently fortifies the root cause of a bunion, the unstable MTP joint. Because the fundamental cause of bunion formation is addressed, lapiplasty delivers better, more consistent results.

Contact Ortho Illinois to schedule a consultation and learn more about this exciting new procedure to get you back on your feet so you return to the live you love. Our board-certified podiatric surgeons are located in multiple locations in northern Illinois and the Chicago region for your convenience.