It’s thought that 15 million people in the UK are affected by bunions, and if left untreated, these bony protrusions can grow to cause serious pain.
While invasive surgery with a long recovery time used to be the only option to get rid of them for good, the new, and first of its kind here in the UK, Minimally Invasive Bunion surgery (MIB) at The Private Clinic on Harley Street, is promising those same results but with a speedy 30-minute surgical procedure that lets you get straight back on your feet after just a few hours.
Here’s everything you need to know about it…
First up, what is a bunion?
It’s a bony lump at the base of the big toe (on one or both feet), which makes it point towards the other toes at an angle.
Sufferers will often also get pain and swelling in the muscle joints.
Causes can range from being hereditary to wearing ill-fitting shoes for long periods of time.
What does the treatment involve?
While a typical surgery would involve removing the bunion under general anaesthetic before keeping the problem toe fixed in place using fixatives like screws and plates (which would leave you needing 6-8 weeks off your foot and on crutches!), the MIB technique uses a much less invasive keyhole method that only takes about 20-30 minutes to do under local anaesthetic.
‘During the procedure, 2-3-millimetre incisions are made in the skin and then small surgical burrs (cutting tools) are used to correct the deformity and modify the bones of the foot,’ explains Dr Andrea Bianchi , Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at The Private Clinic of Harley Street.
‘A series of small and precise fractures are made in the foot which don’t need screws or pins to force the bone into place.
‘Once the bones have been realigned, the foot is bandaged then the fractures left to heal naturally.’
What’s the recovery time?
‘Patients are able to walk out of the theatre without any crutches after a few hours.
‘A special bandage and shoe will need to be worn for 20-23 days, then after that, they’ll be removed and replaced with a small tape and normal trainers can be worn again,’ says Dr Bianchi.
If you’re into your sports, you can go back to regular exercise after around 40 days.
Will it hurt?
‘The treatment is performed under local anaesthetic so patients shouldn’t feel any discomfort during the surgery.
‘In general, they don’t feel any significant pain post procedure, but if they do, it can be easily managed by painkillers like Paracetamol,’ Dr Bianchi adds.
Feeling brave? There’s even a monitor you can watch while you’re having the surgery to see exactly what’s being done!
How much does it cost?
One bunion operation is £4,600, and to have both feet done, it’s £7,900.
‘BUNIONS MADE ME GO BAREFOOT AT MY WEDDING’
Karen, 45, suffered with painful protrusions for decades before she had the Minimally Invasive Bunion surgery…
‘My bunions began causing me problems as far back as in secondary school. I did a lot of sports but my feet were so uncomfortable it made it hard.
;As I grew up I couldn’t wear trendy sandals or heels because they exacerbated the chronic pain. I was also conscious of how red and misshapen my big toes looked. The ache was constant but got worse in winter.
‘Even in the most comfortable shoes my feet would throb. I tried to wear heels on my wedding day but the pain meant I had to go barefoot for half of it. My husband encouraged me to have my feet looked at, so I went to see a surgeon through the NHS.
‘He said my bunions were very bad for someone in their mid-thirties but he also told me the standard surgery would mean I’d need around six weeks of recovery time – PER foot! With two young children and a job working as a learning support assistant, there was no way I could stay off my feet for that long, or even afford to.
‘It was eight years later when a friend in London mentioned they’d heard about the new MIB surgery at the Private Clinic. I booked in to see Dr Bianchi and it all sounded amazing.
‘The day of surgery came and three hours after I checked in, I was walking out unassisted. I didn’t feel any pain during the surgery and I could actually watch what they were doing on a screen! I had my first bunion removed in February and the second in October, and now my feet have been given a whole new lease of life.
‘I can play tennis with my son, and I’ve taken up running again, which was my greatest love.
‘My wardrobe is overflowing with strappy sandals, too!’
– For further information or to book at appointment please CLICK HERE or call 0330 838 1686.