Finally, a Non-surgical Bunion Treatment that Works!

Bunions Treated with Botox

What is a bunion?

Bunions (hallux abducto Valgus or just hallux valgus in medical lingo) are a common and painful abnormality of the big toe joint (first metatarsophalangeal). Bunions affect nearly 25% of American adults 18 to 35 and over 33% of those over 65!

While there are non-surgical things you can do to make bunions less uncomfortable, such as wearing wider shoes or taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, conservative measures are only temporary solutions.

Until now.

In the past, when severe bunion pain affected your work or interfered with your way of life, a surgery known as a bunionectomy was the only treatment option for eliminating bunion symptoms.

This treatment option involved a bunion surgery that cut the bones of the big toe joint in order to correct the misalignment. There were no other effective options.

Until now.

Bunions Treated with Botox

Today Botox® (botulinum toxin) and its close relative, Dysport® (abobotulinumtoxinA) have been used by physicians worldwide to safely treat everything from wrinkles to migraines to overactive sweat glands.

Recent studies, including one in which UFAI has participated, have shown that Botox treatments can not only relieve severe bunion pain, but also slow or stop the deformity from progressing and in some patients, reverse its severity!

And, unlike bunion surgery, this new minimally invasive in-office procedure has zero down time so that you can get quick relief and go back to your routine right away.

What causes bunions?

There are two opposing muscles that run along either side of your toe responsible for keeping it in straight alignment relative to your fore foot: the abductor hallucis and the adductor hallucis. The abductor forces pull your toe away from your foot while the adductor forces pull it inward toward the other toes.

When the abductor hallucis muscle becomes weaker than the adductor hallucis muscle, the inward pulling forces prevail, and your big toe is pulled inward toward your other toes. This causes the joint where the long bone of the forefoot meets the base of the big toe (the metatarsophalangeal joint or MTP) to jut outward, causing an unsightly bunion that rubs against your shoe. Furthermore, the extensor hallucis brevis and the lateral arm of the flexor hallucis brevis can be deforming forces on the toe and cause a bunion deformity.

Depending on how much muscle strength imbalance there is, the inward pulling forces may even cause your big toe to overlap or dive under your other toes, causing pain and difficulty walking. Over time, the MTP joint can become more and more swollen and painful, causing changes in how you walk as your body shifts your weight to the outer side of your foot in an attempt to take pressure off the bunion and decrease your pain.

While you can get pads to cushion the bunion, toe spacers to address the overlap, and shoe inserts to straighten your big toe so that it fits inside your shoe better, these solutions may treat your pain temporarily, but they don’t stop your bunion deformity from progressing.

Until now, there were no options for fixing severe, painful bunions other than foot surgery that involved a several months of recovery.

But now, Botox offers a minimally invasive non-surgical treatment for bunions that doesn’t involve the discomfort, inconvenience and long recovery time associated with surgery.

How does non-surgical Botox bunion treatments work?

It has been shown that when a precise amount of Botox is injected into the adductor hallucis (the muscle that’s pulling the big toe out of alignment) the adductor is temporarily weakened and the balance of power between the muscles responsible for keeping the big toe straight is restored. Your bunion pain is relieved once your big toe is properly aligned.

BOTOX FOR BUNIONS-HOW IT WORKS

IMAGE 1 (above): Injection is given in top of the foot targeting the flexor hallucis brevis head that is forcing the toe inward. IMAGE 2 (above): The same injection is then used to target the oblique and lateral heads of the adductor hallucis brevis muscle. IMAGE 3 (above): A second point of injection is the muscle of the extensor hallucis brevis, which also pulls in the great toe at an abnormal angle, which contributes to the bunion formation.

How is the Bunion Botox procedure done?

The procedure is done in the office with a small numbing of the skin.  Two points of injection are necessary with a very thin and small needle.

The first injection is placed between the first and second toe region in the area of the adductor muscles and flexor hallucis brevis muscles.

The second injection is placed in the top of the foot in the region of the extensor hallucis brevis muscle belly.  The entire procedure takes about 10 minutes.

How much does the Bunion Botox procedure cost?

The procedure is not covered by insurance at the current time and the cost of the material to inject is unfortunately not inexpensive.  The cost is dependent on the size of the foot and muscles that need to be numbed.  The average cost is approximately $1700-$1900 per foot.

How long does the Bunion Botox procedure last?

The procedure has been shown to reduce pain for 4-6 months or longer.  In some patients, pain relief was for over a year.  Furthermore, the progression of the bunion was found to be delayed or even improved mildly on x-rays after injection.

This non-surgical bunion treatment is exclusively available at our Southern California clinics.

Is non-surgical bunion treatment as effective as surgery?

In treating many patients, we have found that this nonsurgical procedure not only helps reduce bunion pain, but also is helpful in preventing bunions from getting worse. It turns out that by using Botox to weaken the extensor hallucis brevis, lateral head of the flexor hallucis brevis, and most importantly, the adductor muscles we give the opposing abductor muscle the opportunity to regain some strength, helping to slow the progression of the bunion deformity.

In some cases, Botox treatment even succeeded in slightly reversing the bunion deformity! Non-surgical Botox bunion treatments are completely safe and can be repeated every four to six months, if needed. This is great news for folks suffering from bunion pain who want to avoid surgery and a lengthy recovery period.

If you’ve been suffering with bunion pain and are looking for long term pain relief that doesn’t involve surgery, call for a consultation with one of our doctors to learn more about this new non-surgical bunion treatment.

Not only will you be giving your feet a well-deserved treat, but you’ll probably be able to walk, run, jump and play again without pain.

Why choose University Foot and Ankle Institute for your Bunion, or other foot and ankle problems?

If you’re experiencing foot problems, we’re here to help. Our nationally recognized foot and ankle specialists offer the most advanced podiatric care and the highest success rates in the nation. We are leaders in the research and treatment of all foot and ankle conditions.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (877) 736-6001 or click here to make an appointment online.

Dr. Bob Baravarian, DPM, FACFAS
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Dr. Bob Baravarian, DPM, FACFAS

Dr. Bob Baravarian is a Board Certified Podiatric Foot and Ankle Specialist. He is currently a member of UCLA Medical Group, Chief of Podiatric Surgery at Santa Monica/UCLA medical center and Orthopedic Hospital and an assistant clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine. He also serves as co-director of University Foot and Ankle Institute. He is Editor Emeritus of the international medical journal, Foot and Ankle Specialist.

Dr. Baravarian has been involved in athletics his entire life and played competitive tennis in high school and college. He has an interest in sports medicine, arthritis therapy and trauma/reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle. He servers as a consultant to the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) tour, multiple running organizations and several shoe manufacturers. He is also fluent in five languages (English, French, Spanish, Farsi and Hebrew),

Podiatrist Dr. Bob Baravarian is available for consultation at the Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks and UCLA Westwood offices.
Dr. Bob Baravarian, DPM, FACFAS
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