January 2014

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   “We are not advocating bunion surgery for the sole purpose of restoring or improving balance,” clarifies Dr. Weil, the President of the Weil Foot and Ankle Institute. “The indications for bunion surgery, we believe, should still be foot pain and the inability to ambulate productively and/or comfortably regardless of patient age.”

   Dr. Weil and co-authors Adam Fleischer, DPM, and Erin Klein, DPM, say the study provides preliminary evidence supporting the secondary benefits that patients may experience following hallux valgus surgery. With further supportive evidence, Dr. Weil foresees providers and patients being more inclined in the future to “pull the trigger” and perform hallux valgus corrective surgery for patients who have demonstrated a fall risk (such as a fall within the past year) when DPMs believe the painful bunion is contributing appreciably to this elevated risk.

   Dr. Weil notes that researchers performed a scarf bunionectomy in the study so their results may not necessarily apply generally to all forms of bunionectomy correction. However, he and his co-authors feel any first ray procedure that realigns the first metatarsophalangeal joint (MPJ), promotes or improves upon first MPJ range of motion, reduces foot pain, and/or improves tactile sensation of the foot and/or proprioceptive feedback may potentially improve static balance in patients.

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