If you’ve been living with a bony bump on your foot, you may be wondering when to have bunion surgery. For most bunion sufferers, some form of surgery is the only way to find lasting relief. But, whether you choose a traditional surgery or Lapiplasty®, a new procedure we offer at our Medford, OR podiatry practice that uses innovative technology to improve outcomes and reduce recovery time, your treatment will mean you’ll need some downtime. So, today, we’ll help you find the best time to have bunion surgery. First, though, we’ll help you understand why bunions form and how surgery corrects both the bony bumps—and the underlying causes, so your growth won’t return after treatment. 

Why Do Bunions Develop? 

Bunions form under pressure. That pressure causes your big toe to shift inward, at the same time creating a bony bump just beneath the toe’s joint.  Along with a bump, bunions may create redness, pain and swelling at the join base, along with limits on your joint mobility. 

But where does that pressure come from? There could be several sources, from inherited structural instability in your foot to injuries or even arthritis attacking and destabilizing your joint. In some cases, poor shoe choices can speed up bunion development. (High heels and pointy-toed shoes are two common culprits.) Yet, for most people, shoe choice simply speeds up bunion growth, without actually causing these bumps to form in the first place. 

When to Have Bunion Surgery? Right Now! foot with large bunion

Here’s the story: without treatment, small bunions become large ones. As we mentioned earlier, external or internal pressure causes bunions to form. So, without addressing the joint rotation and pressure source, bunions will continue to grow. For that reason, it’s best to start bunion treatment as soon as you notice a problem. 

Now, when your bunions are barely visible, you may find relief with non-invasive treatments. Some options include padding your bunion to prevent rubbing. Or adding custom orthotics to your shoes, to help correct imbalances and remove external pressure. 

However, if you already have a large, noticeable bump, surgery is most likely your best treatment option. And, as summer comes to a close, now may be a good time to schedule your procedure. Because, while it’s pretty easy to find open sandals that fit your bunion without rubbing, summer is coming to a close. With the change in seasons, you’ll return to closed-toed sneakers. In turn, your bunion pain is likely to return. For that reason, now’s a great time to get your bunion surgery booked! But what procedure should you choose? Let’s explore some of your options! 

Bunionectomies: The Procedure of the Past

Once upon a time, bunionectomies were the gold-standard treatment. But with this surgery, there was always the possibility that the bump would reform. (They’d need orthotics to prevent this outcome.) Plus, this surgery came with a long and painful recovery period. Fortunately, there’s a new and better treatment option in town: Lapiplasty

What is Lapiplasty®? 

Lapiplasty is a new surgery technique that is superior to other forms of bunion correction. With this procedure, you can stop the metatarsal bone from shifting toward the other toes. At the same time, Lapiplasty stops the bone from rotating and from arching upward. In this way, the surgery corrects each of the three elements of bunion deformities. And, with this 3D approach, it offers what we consider a permanent solution to bunions. 

Even better? Our foot surgeons in Medford OR perform Lapiplasty with a patented tool designed to increase accuracy and reduce the size and number of surgical incisions.  As a result, the post-surgical recovery period is shorter and less intense. In fact, many patients start weight bearing activity within days of Lapiplasty surgery, wearing a walking boot to avoid compromising the healing process.  

What to Expect with Lapiplasty

During a Lapiplasty procedure, we’ll use the patented surgical tools to rotate the metatarsal bone back into the proper position. Right away, this naturally straightens out the big toe, eliminating both the bony bump and bunion side effects such as pain, swelling and limited mobility.  

After repositioning your bone, we implant special plates to permanently stabilize the metatarsal bone, correcting the problems that initially allowed a bunion to develop. Afterward, we can close the small surgical incision, and your recovery can begin. 

As mentioned earlier, this recovery is less intense—and much shorter—than what you’d face after a bunionectomy. In most cases, we’ll put you in a walking boot, not a cast. And we’ll allow you to bear weight with that boot, often just days after your surgery. Best of all, most Lapiplasty patients get back into supportive sneakers within eight weeks of surgery! 

When to Have Bunion Surgery: Lapiplasty Scheduling Notes

Worried about having to plan for a hospital stay? Here’s some good news: we perform Lapiplasty® as an outpatient procedure. That means when you have this bunion surgery, your procedure should last about an hour. And, after a careful post-operative observation period, you’ll be able to go home on that same day, avoiding the hassle of overnight admittance. 

Even during this outpatient procedure, you will receive anesthesia so that Lapiplasty won’t hurt during the procedure. Afterwards, your pain should be minimized by the innovative techniques and materials we use. Even so, you’ll be advised to rest your foot as much as possible in the first few days following your bunion surgery. So, if you’re deciding when to have bunion surgery, try to choose a week when you can take a few days off, limiting your activities as much as possible. 

During this initial period of post-operative care, we’ll ask that you support your recovery by regularly icing your foot and following careful toe movement instructions designed to prevent scar tissue formation.  

When to Have Bunion Surgery: When You’re Ready for a Permanent Bunion Solution

Are you still wondering if it is better to get bunion surgery earlier or later? Well, ask yourself this: are you ready to get back into fall’s closed toed shoes without painful rubbing? Do you want to show off your feet next Spring? Then now is the time to schedule your surgery! Simply reach out to our Medford, OR podiatry office and schedule your immediate Lapiplasty® consultation.  

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