Usually, the seasonal changes are the reason why a patient decides to go to the doctor.

The “bunion”, this bothersome bursitis which arises with the presence of a hallux valgus, reminds us that it exists, and it swells, becomes inflammed and hurts every time we change our pair of shoes and we move on to more enveloping, closed-toe shoes.

Undoubtely, the critical moment is when one has to return from summer holidays.

In fact, on the beach, or anyways, during the hot period, we usually wear sandals, open-toe shoes, flip-flops, which less stimulate this infamous “bunion”.

Then, autumn comes, errands multiply.

Here’s winter: wearing boots becomes more and more hard, but the daily routine is unstoppable. We promise ourselves that we will solve the problem next spring. Howewer, when the good weather arrives, we go back to open-toe shoes and during summer, again, as if by miracle, we feel like we’ve healed.

It is often a cycle which repeats itself year by year, and when the patient comes to the doctor’s office, she can’t take it anymore!

Hallux valgus, when to operate?

But, how can we plan a correction, by avoiding reaching the limit? Does it exist the best season for it?

First of all, before planning, it’s essential to diagnose.

It’s obvious that even an amateur can distinguish between a hallux valgus and a well-aligned hallux.

Nevertheless, it’s for the best to receive a precise diagnosis, because there exist some types of hallux valgus that are intimately connected to other foot deformities, such as the flat foot, for instance. Not recognising and not treating them, means to be exposed to the risk of a painful relapse.

In order to get a complete diagnosis, it becomes essential observing the patient while walking and, more often, completing the medical case with an x-ray of the loaded feet, that is, done while standing up.

Receiving a precise diagnosis with the consequent suggestion for undergoing a corrective surgery, what does it really mean?

The corrective surgery of the hallux valgus.

Effectively, it is a quite mini-invasive operation, in every sense.

The preoperative examinations needed are: a simple complete blood count (blood exam test) and an anesthesiology visit, both normally accomplished during the pre-admission phase or, as an alternative, at the same time of the admission.

The operation consists of a “local” anesthesia, by which the leg from the knee down is anesthetised. For the most apprehensive patients, a total sedation is possible, but it is absolutely not mandatory.

The surgery is performed through small incisions (real “needle-punctures”, in the case of percutaneous technique) and it lasts about 20 minutes. Walking is immediately possible, by putting down the operated foot completely and using a flat, rigid shoe which is able to protect the foot without forcing it in an innatural posture. Crutches are evidently a valid help during the first 2-3 days, but not a necessary obligation.

On the other hand, it is absolutely important to keep the operated foot in an elevated position. For instance, if one has already planned to return to work precociously, few days after the surgery, he should remember to keep the foot high and to lean it on a simple chair, that is more than enough. A correct behaviour will avoid a post-operative swelling and will allow a quick and painless return to sports activities and high-heeled shoes.

It is possible, in fact, to foresee a return to normal shoes by only four weeks. Sports and more demanding high-heeled shoes will have to wait for 2 months.

It really is a simple and reproducible intervention. Its low invasivity makes it therefore an operation valid “for all seasons”. The only fundamental ingredient: the possibilty of giving oneself some time to rest and relax for a while, during the post-operative progress (7-15 days)!

Do you want a piece of advice? Do not come when it’s too late, and plan it in time!