New procedure gives those with bunions hope for faster recovery

Thursday, October 11, 2018
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An Orange County physician is using minimally invasive surgery to help those with bunions get back on their feet faster.

Alyssa Zimmerman had bunion surgery in December she's in for a checkup.

"I've had a bunion since I was about 16 and playing soccer, and when I was playing soccer it was pretty painful," said Zimmerman.

She watched her mother go through the nearly yearlong process of recovering from bunion surgery and was skeptical about doing it herself, but a new minimally invasive bunionectomy done by Dr. Jonathan Kaplan of Hoag Orthopedic Institute gave her hope.

"I was one of the pilot surgeons selected in the United States invited to the facility where the company had been fine-tuning it and their equipment," said Kaplan.

Kaplan says this procedure drastically cuts down recovery time for those with bunions.

"We cut the bone. We've shifted it over to bring this part of the foot straight. We used two screws to hold it in place and then we also cut the bone here and we slide that over so that the whole toe, if you follow the entire alignment, is straight all the way up," said Kaplan.

The procedure now has Zimmerman leading an active life.

"I'm able to walk eight hours a day on my feet and not have any issues with it," said Zimmerman.

Kaplan says those with arthritis, or who have congenital defects or are hyper mobile might not be the best candidates, but a consult with him will help determine if this type of process can be effective.

"Fifty to 70 percent of people, it could be related to lifestyle. Thirty percent -- mainly bad luck," said Kaplan.

For some people, bunion surgery is inevitable, but Kaplan says there are a few exercises and some mobility work you can do to possibly prevent it. "Try the non-operative things first. Wider toe boxes in shoes. There are all sorts of different pads you can use that run inside along the bump. Toe spacers, doing massage. Myo-fascial release is important ," said Kaplan.

Kaplan says while it might be inevitable that you get a bunion, trying these protocols might prolong or prevent pain. But if needed, the new minimally invasive surgery can have you back on your feet and active in a fraction of the time of the traditional surgery.