Loretta C describes herself as always on the move and loves “just enjoying life” with her husband. But for several years, her activities and the level to which she could enjoy them were limited by pain caused by a bunion on her left foot.
“Before the Arthrex Bunionectomy, I was limited in what I could do,” Loretta says. “It was painful for me if I bounced on my toes or worked out too long…or when I walked for long periods of time.”
Now that she is retired after a 30-year career in the health care industry, Loretta wanted to enjoy her favorite activities, such as dance workouts, gardening, shopping, traveling, and even just trying new restaurants with her husband and friends.
But no matter the activity, Loretta first had to think about how her painful bunion would impact it. The couple has a home gym with a stationary bike, treadmill, weights, and more, but Loretta found she couldn’t use any of the equipment for too long before experiencing pain from her bunion. A home renovation meant lots of trips to home improvement stores—but Loretta found all those steps challenging.
And, she says, it was “depressing” that she could no longer wear the stylish shoes she loved. Instead, she purchased comfortable shoes a half-size too large just to accommodate her bunion.
Going out to dinner with friends, another favorite activity, was complicated by Loretta’s self-consciousness about the appearance of her foot, both her bunion and the crossover toe that had developed as a result. “My confidence was affected when I was out with others, because I was afraid that they were looking at my feet,” she explained.
Loretta was familiar with the symptoms of a bunion, as well as the potential complications of traditional “open” surgical correction. In 2014, she underwent correction for a painful bunion on her right foot, but her experience with the procedure was not at all positive, she says.
After her traditional bunion surgery, her foot was swollen for 6 weeks; she was in a surgical boot for even longer; and it was “2 to 3 months” before she could wear a soft, sneaker-like shoe, Loretta says. She still experiences stiffness in that toe, and has a large, long scar on her right foot that is still visible Because of this experience, Loretta put off finding a solution for the painful bunion on her left foot.
Even before retirement, Loretta says, her bunion slowed her down. The self-described “workaholic” spent 10-hour days in an office setting, where most women wore dress-style shoes. But Loretta couldn’t wear them for very long and kept multiple shoe styles under her desk for changes throughout the day, from comfortable flats to sandals that allowed space for the painful bunion on her left foot.
Although her bunion pain limited her activities, she was very concerned that another procedure would keep her out of work and prevent driving herself to the office—in addition to worrying about the lingering pain and swelling she experienced with her first surgery.
But in late 2019, on the verge of retirement and with a planned Caribbean vacation on the horizon, Loretta finally decided to again explore surgical correction for her bunion. She visited a podiatrist in her area, who recommended she visit an orthopedic surgeon.
Her surgeon, who is trained in the Arthrex Minimally Invasive Bunionectomy procedure, explained to Loretta that he would make “pinhole” incisions to complete her surgery, then realign the bones of her big toe. The small incisions disrupt less tissue than open procedures, which her doctor told her meant she should experience less swelling and pain.¹
And, crucially to this active retiree, he told her she should be back in action much more quickly than after her previous open procedure.²
“Everything he told me about it was completely true,” Loretta says. “There was less pain. I couldn’t believe it… I was absolutely shocked!”
The minimal swelling she experienced subsided after just 10 days, Loretta says. She spent about the same amount of time in a surgical boot before transitioning to a soft, sneaker-style shoe. And within a few days, she was back to enjoying some activities with her husband.
While her right toe is still stiff many years after her open procedure, within 3 months of her Arthrex Minimally Invasive Bunionectomy she was back to enjoying all her favorite activities, from dance exercise classes to shoe shopping. She is excited that, with her bunion corrected and just two tiny dots on her skin, she feels confident wearing her favorite shoes again. “It’s just comfortable getting back out there again and being as active as I want to be,” Loretta says. “I can scrunch my toes, do tippy-toes.”
With retirement the couple’s travel plans have only grown, and now Loretta does not have to fear limiting herself on vacation. Many visits are to beachfront locales, where she can take walks on the beach, wade in the water, and wear sandals to her heart’s content.
“The healing process, for me, was excellent,” Loretta says.“I have no pain at all anymore. No pain, and no fear of shopping for shoes!”
1. Lee M, Walsh J., Smith MM, Ling J, Wines A, Lam P. Hallux valgus correction comparing percutaneous chevron/Akin (PECA) and open scarf/Akin osteotomies. Foot Ankle Int. 2017;38(8):838-846. doi:10.1177/1071100717704941
2. Lai MC, Rikhraj IS, Woo YL, Yeo W, Ng YCS, Koo K. Clinical and radiological outcomes comparing percutaneous chevron-Akin osteotomies vs open scarf-Akin osteotomies for hallux valgus. Foot Ankle Int. 2018;39(3):311-317.doi:10.1177/1071100717745282
Surgeons using the Arthrex Minimally Invasive Bunionectomy procedure have been trained in minimally invasive surgery for bunion correction.
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While our database of doctors is large, it is not a complete listing of all doctors who can perform the Arthrex Bunionectomy procedure. The doctors included in this locator are limited to those doctors who have attended a training course specifically on minimally invasive surgery techniques. By inclusion of a particular doctor in this database, Arthrex expresses no opinion as to the professional skills or qualifications of the surgeon.
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