Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons underwent bunion correction surgery last week.
On Monday, March 6, Jones, wearing a hospital gown and a big toothy grin, announced via Instagram that his “Surgery was a success!” Fans and well-wishers offered their prayers and hopes for a speedy recovery for the football star.
Falcons’ management says they are looking at a 4-5 month recovery period. If all goes well, Jones should be in good shape to start training camp in July.
What Causes a Bunion?
Bunions are fairly common, affecting a quarter to a third of the adult population. Bunions range from mild to severe, and although many bunions can be treated with conservative measures, severe bunions must be corrected with comprehensive surgery.
A bunion is a mis-aligned bone caused by looseness in the bones, tendons, and ligaments of the foot. The first metatarsal – the thin bone leading to your big toe – drifts outward, causing the metatarsal head to jut out and form a bony bump on the inside of your foot at the base of the toe.
Bunions seem simple, but each one is as unique as its owner. Factors contributing to bunion formation include:
- Genetics. Conditions that produce bunions are hereditary and can be passed down from parent to child.
- Structural anomalies. Flat feet, asymmetrical leg length, missing foot bones, and other foot deformities could increase the likelihood of a bunion.
- Injuries. Injuries to the foot or lower leg could contribute to bunions.
- Ill-fitting shoes. Shoes that fail to support the arch and shoes with pointy-toes are common culprits.
- Pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones can loosen the bones, making bunions more likely.
Bunion Treatment and Surgery
Your foot and ankle specialist will prescribe the best course of treatment based on the severity of your bunion. Custom orthotics, pads, and anti-inflammatories can usually help with the discomfort of a mild bunion.
But a bunion won’t go away on its own. If a severe bunion keeps you from your performing your normal activities, surgery is in order.
And, you can’t just “cut it off,” or else you risk the bunion coming back. Severe bunions require expert technique to correct the precise cause of the deformity and prevent recurrence.
Dr. Bob Baravarian, Director of University Foot and Ankle Institute and international leader in bunion surgeries, has performed hundreds of bunionectomies. “While we provide a variety of bunion surgeries that are tailored to each patient’s condition and needs, the majority of our procedures fall into these three main types of bunionectomies. Each has been thoroughly tested for speedy recovery and long-term stability.”
The three procedures are:
- Austin Bunionectomy: Osteotomy best suited for relatively young patients with active lifestyles.
- Forever Lapidus Bunionectomy : Open surgery that promises the highest rate of fusion, greatest stability and a speedy recovery.
- MinVasive Bunionectomy: Minimally-invasive procedure featuring greater bone fixation and faster recovery.
Choosing the right bunion surgery – and bunion surgeon – is crucial.
Dr. Baravarian said, “If Julio Jones were my patient, I would perform a thorough exam, using X-rays, MRIs, and gait analysis, to get a better understanding of the mechanics of his foot. We would need to preserve his agility and speed on the field, while also giving him the best shot at a long, healthy career.”
An Outstanding Record
Jones was plagued with injuries this past season. The wide receiver skipped two games in December after spraining his toe. According to the team’s game-week practice report, Jones missed 8 practices and partially participated in 10. He only fully participated once.
Despite the injuries and absences, Jones maintained an outstanding record, finishing with 1,409 receiving yards – bested only by T.Y. Hilton of the Indianapolis Colts. Jones shared the team lead for passes with teammate Taylor Gabriel.
One of the team’s most valuable wide receivers, Jones caught 19 passes for 334 yards and completed three touchdowns in the playoffs, rocketing the Falcons to Super Bowl LI. The Falcons played a strong start, but lost 28-34 in overtime to the Patriots.
As a teaching institution, University Foot and Ankle Institute’s Fellowship Program is among the most advanced in the nation.
We at UFAI are driven to get our patients back to their normal activities with the highest level of function, in the least amount of time, using the least invasive treatments possible. From start to finish, we are with you every step of the way.
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