ANKENY, Iowa — Thirty percent of the population has bunions on their feet.
In the past, the corrective surgery was invasive and painful, and patients still had bunions reoccur 50 percent of the time. But two surgeons in Ankeny created a procedure that brings the reoccurrence rate down to two percent, and it is changing the way surgeons around the nation are looking at bunions.
“The pain was a burning pain. It didn’t go away when I was off my feet. Eventually it was with me 24/7,” Tom Gale said.
The bunion on 58-year-old Gale’s foot was preventing the Florida man from doing everyday activities. “Walking, I work in oceanography out on the ocean, volunteer work, acting on stage,” he said.
He began researching bunion surgery and came across Dr. Paul Dayton in Ankeny, Iowa. Dayton and his wife, partner and fellow doctor, Mindi, developed the Lapiplasty surgery that corrects the root cause of bunions without having to shave bone, by looking at the 3D anatomy of a bunion.
“It’s not a growth, it’s not extra bone, it’s actually a deformity where one of the long bones in the middle of the foot is moving away from the rest of the foot, so the end of the bone, the knuckle is sticking out,” Dayton said.
Traditional bunion surgeries attempt to remove the protruding bone.
“What I was taught in residency and essentially what most foot and ankle surgeons are taught is to cut the bone, shave the bump off, cut the bone and try to slide it over in two dimensions,” Dayton said.
The Lapiplasty surgery is moving the bone back into position in three different directions.
“We’re moving it over, we’re moving it down, and we’re turning it back into position, so we’re essentially returning the anatomy to the way it should have been to begin with,” Dayton said.
They then fuse the weak joint that caused the bone to shift in the first place so it will not happen again.
“When we fuse the joint, we’re not impairing function whatsoever. Matter of fact, we’re improving function by stabilizing a bone that needs to be stable,” Dayton said.
Gale said it took about nine months until he was walking around comfortably. Now more than a year later, he only has minor pain.
“I’m back to 100 percent activity level with only two percent of the pain,” Gale said. “It is a night and day difference.”
Dayton said the only cause of bunions is genetics. He says they see bunions in people as young as 10 years old. For more information on Lapiplasty, visit Treace.com.