Bunion Treatment: Management of Your Foot Condition

Ankle osteoarthritis is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the ankle joint. Traditional treatments like joint fusion can limit mobility. An alternative procedure called ankle distraction arthroplasty has been gaining some traction, but how well does it hold up in the long term? 

A recent study by Greenfield et al. (2019) investigated this very question. They conducted a survival analysis of ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis. Their findings suggest that this procedure may be a viable option for some patients. 

Key takeaways from the study: 

  • Ankle distraction arthroplasty showed promising results, with an 84% survival rate at 5 years. This is better than some previously reported outcomes. 
  • The study also identified factors that can influence the success of the procedure. Avascular necrosis of the talus (bone death) was associated with a lower survival rate. Additionally, sex may play a role, with the study suggesting potential gender differences in long-term outcomes. 

What this means for patients: 

Ankle distraction arthroplasty offers a potential option for preserving joint mobility in patients with ankle osteoarthritis. This study provides valuable data for surgeons and patients to consider when making treatment decisions. 

Important to note: 

  • This was a retrospective study, meaning researchers analyzed past data. More robust research designs are needed to confirm these findings. 
  • The study involved a relatively small group of patients. Larger studies are necessary to draw more definitive conclusions. 

Overall, this research suggests that ankle distraction arthroplasty may be a valuable tool for treating ankle osteoarthritis. However, more research is needed to solidify its place as a standard treatment option. 

ReferenceGreenfield, S., Matta, K. M., McCoy, T. H., Rozbruch, S. R., & Fragomen, A. (2019). Ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis: a survival analysis. Strategies in trauma and limb reconstruction, 14(2), 65. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7376580/#:~:text=In%20a%20significantly%20larger%20series,and%2037%25%20within%205%20years


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional to discuss your individual treatment options.

Image Credit: Wexner Medical Center – The Ohio State University

“Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well; …and not today’s pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man.” – James H. West

A Bunion on the toe, is a protrusion of the big toe, caused by misalignment of the bones in the foot. Eventually a lump forms on the metatarsophalangeal joint. If the condition persists, it can become painful, and restrict activities such as the types of shoes that can be worn on the feet. Purchasing of shoes becomes a challenge for the patient. Minimally invasive bunion surgical procedures will be the best solution to your condition if you are diagnosed with a bunion. 

After an initial analysis, your orthopaedic surgeon will be able to tell if you have any of the following classifications of bunions: 

Mild bunion: Bunion treatment involves the bone minimization to eliminate the protrusions, and realignment of the muscles and other soft tissue in the joint. 

Moderate bunion: Bunion treatment involves bone incision and realignment of the toe and soft tissue repositioning. 

Severe bunion: Bunion treatment involves protrusion removal, bone incision and realignment, and soft tissue repositioning. 

Arthritic bunion or big toe joint: Joint fusion facilitated in order to allow the bones to heal. Occasional reconstruction of the joint will be conducted during surgical treatment. 

With appropriate surgical procedures, the ability to walk will be restored after the appropriate healing time, as well as reduction of other symptoms that are associated with bunions such as pain or swelling of the joint. From a cosmetic perspective, there will be an improvement in the appearance of the foot. The final appearance, post surgery will be as follows:

The bunion surgery varies in terms of the final treatment. In some instances only a slight numbing of the foot will be necessary. In other instances, anaethesia will be needed in order for the appropriate changes to be done by your surgeon. The treatment usually takes approximately 6 weeks for normal usage of the feet. 

Treatment Preparation:

All surgical procedures have detailed plans. Your orthopaedic surgeon will highlight to you the risks and the associated benefits of your bunion surgery procedure. You will then proceed to prepare yourself by ensuring that you are not on any medications that will interfere with the surgery, particularly since you are on anaesthetic for the procedure. A detailed checklist will be provided by your bunion surgeon. 

Surgery Day: 

With the appropriate plans in place, you are now ready for your surgery. You will be advised on your dietary requirements in the hours preceding the surgery. Following the plan accordingly, and you’ll be well on your way to a speedy recovery. With an average surgery time of approximately two hours per bunion, you will be well on your way to either spend the post op hours at the hospital, or be able to return to your home to heal. 

Consult with your doctor if you suspect that you have a bunion. With an appropriate plan, you will be able to have your condition treated, and your health restored. 


  1. Bunionectomy: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/aftercareinformation/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=zu2039
  2. Bunion Surgery: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/bunion-surgery

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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