New bunion procedure slashes recovery time and minimizes pain, according to Irmo surgeon

Published: May. 14, 2019 at 7:10 PM EDT
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IRMO, SC (WIS) - A local podiatrist says a new procedure is literally changing the game for those suffering from bunions. The proof is in the testimonies of patients back recovering in record time, and that includes a local grandmother with every need to stay on her feet.

Kathie Stephens says she loves all of her grandchildren, but she has a special bond with one of them.

"She's my heart honey,” Stephens said. "She's the one that calls and sends text messages. And says ‘grand mommy can you come out and spend five days with me?’"

It only took one call from her granddaughter, who is finishing culinary school in Colorado – and she told her husband, “See ya later, I’m going to Denver.”

She recounts that one with a smile. On that trip, her granddaughter wanted to show her all the favorite spots and restaurants. Stephens had a hard time keeping up and by the time she got to the airport, she realized she was in big trouble, eventually having to ask for help.

"I need assistance. I need a wheelchair. I cannot walk through this airport,” Stephens said. “It hurt that bad."

All that pain, because of a bunion on her foot, making it near impossible to walk. She knew it was time to deal with it, but didn't want to go through the traditional, painful bunion surgery. That was, until her third or fourth consult, when she met Dr. Daniel Methuselah. Little did she know, the experience would change her entire existence.

"When we do the surgery, we cut away the end of the bone and make it into a rectangle,” Dr. Methuselah said. “When we make it into a rectangle, we can move this bone and make it straight and that's what we did over here."

Dr. Methuselah, who practices at Columbia Podiatry in Irmo, is referencing the first metatarsal where he says an unstable joint can cause the deformity. The bunion is the bony lump that forms at the base of the big toe. Traditional surgery shaves the lump, without targeting the joint underneath that could be causing the problem.

But, a new procedure called “Lapiplasty” allows doctors to realign the bone in three dimensions and secure the unstable joint with titanium plates, which Dr. Methuselah says keeps it from coming back.

"This procedure is more advanced so it actually corrects all the facets of the problem so it decreases the chance of recurrence,” said Dr. Methuselah. “So that's a big improvement."

And 3 months after the surgery, Kathie is in her walking shoes, which means this fun Grandma is already back on her feet.

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