Post-Op Treatment for Bunions

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

Disclaimer:

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.
 

Post-Op Treatment for Bunions

“If we are creating ourselves all the time, then it is never too late to begin creating the bodies we want instead of the ones we mistakenly assume we are stuck with.” – Deepak Chopra

Article Authors: Gordon Slater| Tandose Sambo 

Bunions are caused by a misalignment in the feet, which cause a protrusion on the metatarsophalangeal joint. Usually surgical methods are used to remove this protrusion, and there is a six week post operational recovery period. The surgery is planned in detail by your surgeon, and once the procedure is completed, as a patient, you will either be taken to a recovery room for observation, or simply be allowed to return to your home. 

Your orthopaedic surgeon will make a series of assessments depending on what type of anaesthetic was used in the surgery. The following parameters will also be monitored by your surgeon, just to ensure that everything is well: 

  1. Foot Blood Circulation 
  2. Pressure tests to ensure that the feet are feeling sensations 
  3. Blood Pressure 
  4. Pulse 
  5. Breathing Rate

All being well, you will then be allowed to return to your home. Your orthopaedic surgeon will give you detailed instructions with respect to caring for your foot (or feet if you happen to have bunions on both feet). When you are discharged from the hospital, you are usually given special surgical shoes in order to protect your feet as you are mobile. Additionally, you may be given a walker or a cane, to support the body, and facilitate weight distribution that doesn’t stress the healing leg. 

The most critical post operational activity is rest, rest and more rest! Orthopaedic surgeons advise that you keep your affected foot elevated. What this will facilitate is the healing process. Raising your feet facilitates circulation, and helps to reduce that post operational pain, and swelling that is associated with healing post surgery. Additional treatments include: 

Icing the feet –  compression is good for healing, especially if there is swelling associated with the post surgery experience. 

As you can see from the image above, there is a dressing that is applied to the feet, post surgery. It is important to ensure that the feet stay clean and dry. Recommendations for maintenance include covering the foot with a plastic bag, and protecting the healing area from excessive moisture during activities such as showers. 

Take a pain reliever for soreness as recommended by your healthcare provider. Aspirin or certain other pain medicines may increase the chance of bleeding. Be sure to take only recommended medicines. Your healthcare provider may also prescribe antibiotics to help prevent infection following your surgery.

Your orthopaedic surgeon will monitor your progress across the healing weeks. The initial healing will take place across the first six weeks, and full healing can be expected across four months. You will be given a checklist of adverse symptoms to look out for. Do not hesitate to call your orthopaedic surgeon if you notice anything out of the ordinary. Monitor yourself and your vital signs and ensure that you are in the normal to healthy ranges for all the critical parameters such as your blood pressure, as well as ensuring that you are feeling sensation in your legs are healing. 

As part of your healing, you will be advised to take exercises either at home, or with a physical therapist, in order to ensure that appropriate mobility is restored to the region. Happy healing! 

References:

  1. Bunion Surgery: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/bunion-surgery
  2. Bunion Removal: https://www.healthline.com/health/bunion-removal

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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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