Mini TightRope Procedure Moves Bunion Back in Place Without Cutting Bone

A bony bump on the joint at the base of the big toe, a bunion forms when the big toe pushes against the next toe, forcing the joint of the big toe to get bigger and stick out.

Pain can be intermittent or constant, depending on the severity.

Though the Portage, IN, woman had to wear wider shoes to accommodate her wider foot, it wasn't her feet that caused her the most pain. It was her back, especially when she stood still for long periods. After her primary doctor ruled out back problems, Barbara made an appointment to see podiatrist Dale Brink, D.P.M., who recommended surgery.

Luckily, Dr. Brink offers a less traumatic option called the Mini TightRope procedure.

patient Barbara Loeffler and Dr. Dale Brink"Traditionally, people suffering from painful bunions require a bunionectomy," Dr. Brink explained. "In a traditional bunionectomy, you would cut the bone and reposition it, or fuse the joint with screws or plates, which can lead to a long recovery of six to eight weeks, during which patients can't bear any weight on the foot and must use crutches."

The new procedure, however, uses a special suture material called fiber-wire to pull the bones in the big toe and second toe into proper alignment.

"After surgery, patients wear a postoperative shoe or short walking boot," he added. "Within two to three weeks, the stitches are removed, and most patients are completely pain-free."

Barbara had two separate Mini TightRope surgeries at Ingalls: her right foot in January, and her left in February. Not only did her feet feel better, they looked a whole lot better too.

"I can't believe how straight they are now," she added. "I've only got one body, so I've got to take care of it. Dr. Brink is terrific. If you've got bunions, I recommend you get them taken care of."

"The TightRope procedure is not indicated for all bunions, but only those that show a high degree of mobility," Dr. Brink added.

For more information, call Ingalls Care Connection at 708.915.CARE (2273).

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