Victoria Beckham, also known as Posh Spice, has made the news several times this year. Not because of her husband’s amazing talents or her singing career, but rather because of her feet. This Spice Girl has a very serious dilemma. Should she correct her bunions or should she continue to wear sexy shoes and deal with the pain?
A bunion deformity is when your big toe tilts toward your small toes. Over time, the big toe creeps further and further along and causes a bump to protrude out on the side of your foot. This bump is actually the bones that make up the joint at your big toe. There is not one thing that causes bunions. Simply wearing high heels will not lead to bunions though they may make the bunion worse. The most common factor linked to bunions is hypermobility of a joint in the mid-section of your foot.
Hypermobility does not mean flexibility but rather movement when there is not suppose to be movement. Think of a table with four legs but one leg is a little off. The table is designed to be stable, but a tiny flaw causes it to tilt when you apply pressure to the surface. If you place some support such as a pack of napkins under the disabled leg, the table is no longer hypermobile. Detecting hypermobility in the foot is not as easy to notice as an uneven dinner table, but with careful examination, podiatric physicians are able to detect this problem that is often associated with bunions.
When treating bunions, the initial approach is conservative therapy of orthotics, padding, and strapping. These treatments are similar to the concept of putting the napkins under the unsteady table to make it less hypermobile. But, at some point the bunion gets to the point where surgical correction is necessary. Just as there is probably a dozen ways to take the unstable table to the shop and make it functional, there a dozen ways to correct a bunion. The skill of the surgeon is to determine what procedure is best to prevent the problem from reoccurring. To do this, the surgeon must identify the root of the problem. As we mentioned before, hypermobility is the most likely cause for most bunions.
Lets go back to the table example. If we wanted to correct our unsteady table, is it best to saw the other three legs down, or figure out why the one leg is shorter and try to correct the site where the problem exists. The reason that so many patients and doctors have trouble treating a bunion at its root is because of the crucial recovery time. A Lapidus procedure is the most reliable technique to correct bunions due to hypermobility. This procedure fuses, or unites, the two bones at the location of the hypermobility, which is along the midfoot region. The doctor could do the procedure and have a perfect operative result, but the most important part of the treatment is the patient’s ability to stay off their foot! After surgery, a patient has to be put in a cumbersome cast and is unable to bear weight on their foot for six weeks. With all bunion surgeries, the patient must exercise the big toe joint to ensure proper motion. Some recovery time may be spent with a physical therapist to assist in strength training your foot back into action.
It is essential that bunion treatments are done correctly the first time.
When the focus is on the cause of the problem and not how to immediately improve appearance, the patient will be much more pleased with the surgical results in the long run. If you are serious about getting your bunions corrected, then you must also take the doctor’s post-operative instructions serious. I wonder if this is what is holding Victoria Beckham back from getting her bunion fixed. This “A” list celebrity would rather run around in excruciating pain in an unsightly bunion to please all the Spice Girl fans. Back here in the real world, you can run around with your children or girlfriend’ pain free and bunion free if you take the time to treat it right!