“It’s so nice to be able to do everything I want to do – without pain!”
Emily has been a lifelong fan of soccer – playing in both high school and college. However, even at the young age of 23, Emily has also been a lifelong sufferer of bunion pain as well; which made the hobby she loved so much – so painful. “I’m not sure if you are familiar with how narrow and tight, cleats can be, but growing up, having to jam my feet into cleats was extremely painful for me,” Emily relates. “I spent so much time trying to find the right size and shape to offset my irregular feet and make them more comfy. I can’t tell you how many cleats I’ve gone through.” After each practice and each game, Emily’s feet were swollen and painful.
Emily wasn’t just in pain when she was playing soccer. She found it almost impossible to find comfort with any shoe that she wore as most put pressure on the outside of her foot where her bunion was. “When I look back, I really remember the times that I wasn’t in pain – those are the actual times that stick out more to me — more so than when I was in pain; because pain was so common to me.”
As it came time for Emily to close out her college career and look toward getting a job, Emily had a heart-to-heart talk with her mom about what she should do. “I knew I had a window of time and some flexibility with my class load to consider getting my bunions fixed before I graduated. I thought, ‘I’m young and I’d like to take care of the issue now.’” As bunions frequently tend to run in families, both Emily’s grandmother and mother had suffered with bunions as well. “I can’t remember my grandmother’s bunion experience that well, but I do know that my mom has struggled to find comfortable shoes her whole life and I really didn’t want to live like that.”
With encouragement from her mom and a doctor referral from her team trainer, Emily went for a consultation with Dr. Jeffrey Baker of Weil Foot & Ankle Institute in Chicago, IL. It was important for Emily to find a doctor who was passionate about athletes and helping them to return to activity as she fully intended to get back to running and soccer as soon as she could. She found that in Dr. Baker, who (turns out) was also passionate about soccer, being a former collegiate athlete himself.
“I honestly had no idea that there were so many ways to fix a bunion. Dr. Baker explained some pros and cons to me about different approaches and told me that he frankly recommended Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction™. After he explained to me the Lapiplasty® Procedure would fix the root cause of the bunion and that I could bear weight relatively quickly in a boot, I felt like it would be the best option for me – particularly when he explained that many surgeries have high recurrence rates1 and that short term studies of the Lapiplasty® Procedure’s rate of recurrence was low.”2,3
Emily had her first foot, her left foot, operated on in January of 2019. Emily’s mom flew up to assist her with her recovery and Dr. Baker helped manage her pain with a nerve block during the procedure and prescribed medication for about 2-3 days after the surgery, which Emily found helpful particularly helpful while sleeping/keeping her foot elevated. “I was, of course, nervous about the surgery in general, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised that within 2 weeks I was able to transition away from crutches and into a walking boot. I really didn’t think I’d be able to do that so quickly.”
“In my opinion, participating in physical therapy helped my recovery a lot. My ankle was pretty stiff after surgery and PT helped me work through that and greatly improved the mobility in my toe.” By her third follow-up visit, she was able to transition into normal shoes and the experience was positive enough for her to move on to her second surgery on her right foot, this time.
“Knowing what to expect the second time around, was helpful to me. I was less hesitant and cautious. I was glad I did them back-to-back as I was in kind of a recovery rhythm.”
“When I ran my first mile on the treadmill after surgery, that was huge! And, when I ran my first mile outdoors without pain, OMG.” Ultimately, Emily had set herself a goal to return to a soccer league in the summer — which she was able to do. She was also able to wear heels to her graduation.
“I’m extremely happy with the Lapiplasty® Procedure and I have no bunion pain now at all. It’s so nice to be able to do everything I want to do – without pain! I’m actually starting now to train for the Chicago Marathon. And, it’s also so much easier for me to find shoes, as my feet are slightly narrower now, and I don’t have to search for extra room to avoid putting pressure on my bunions.”
- Jeuken RM, et al. Foot Ankle Int. 2016. 37:687-95.
- Ray J, et al. Foot Ankle Int. 2019 Aug;40(8):955-960.
- Dayton P, et al. J Foot Ankle Surg. 2019. 58:427-433.
Only a surgeon can tell if Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction™ is right for you. As with any medical treatment, individual results may vary and this experience is unique and specific to this patient only. There are potential risks with surgery and recovery takes time. Potential risks include, but are not limited to: infection, discomfort from the presence of the implant, loosening of the implant, and loss of correction with nonunion or malunion.
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