Santa Barbara Bunion Surgeon

Updated 2/27/2024
Bunion before and after picture

A bunion is a bony bump protruding from the base of the big toe that can be painful from walking and rubbing on the side of your shoe. It is a very common condition, and about 30%1 of the population has one.

 

Before you start blaming your bad shoes, here’s the truth: there are many reasons bunions form, and they are not your fault. Your foot mechanics can predispose you to form bunions over years and years of walking, running, hiking, playing sports, etc. High heels and tight shoes can push the big toe inwards to accentuate the bunion further.

 

Also, conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy can increase the risk of developing a bunion. 

Bunion Treatment Options

There are hundreds of ways to treat a bunion, and the success of treatment depends on many factors, including the severity of the bunion.

 

Conservative options include: 

  • Shoes with a firm sole and a wide toe box to allow room for your bunion
  • Orthotics to support and offload the bottom of your feet
  • Gel pads or moleskin to cushion the pressure on the bunion
  • Bunion sleeves, splints, and toe spacers to temporarily hold your big toe in the correct alignment
  • Supportive treatment with icing and topical analgesics
  • Physical therapy

 

Of course, some bunions do not respond to conservative treatment, and bunion surgery is needed.

 

Bunion surgery options include:

  • Cutting and straightening the bone
  • Minimally invasive techniques
  • Joint fusion techniques
  • Strengthening and loosening ligaments around the joint

 

Metal-free bunion surgery is now a reality for our Santa Barbara patients

Even the screws used to perform the surgery can vary from stainless steel to titanium and even material that can absorb into bone. 

 

For some patients, the metal hardware is not tolerated and may need to be removed. Research has shown that up to 15% of people require the hardware to be removed within the first year after surgery.2 Unfortunately, this means more surgery, more down time, more lost wages, and additional costs of thousands of dollars. Due to this reality, different products have been developed to try to reduce the need for removing hardware after surgery.

 

A technique that has grown in popularity over the last few years is an “all-natural” screw made from minerals found in bone, such as magnesium and calcium. These minerals are blended in fibers that allow the screw to dissolve in transform into bone over time. The material is about 1.5 times stronger than natural bone and begins absorbing into the bone in as soon as two weeks3. The implant essentially functions as a bone graft that incorporates into the natural bone and is strong enough to maintain fixation throughout the recovery process.

 

Ossio fiber before and after bunion surgery x-ray
Before and After using Ossiofiber Nails to fixate Bunion and Tailors Bunion Osteotomies

Benefits of Ossiofiber, metal-free surgical hardware

Patients have been very happy with this surgery, because it is a predictable and permanent solution without the complications seen with metal implants. Patients are typically walking immediately after surgery in a boot and are usually back in regular shoes six weeks after surgery.

 

Another benefit of the “all-natural” fixation is that it can be used to treat other foot conditions as well, such as tailors’ bunions, hammertoes, arthritis, and even fractures. This versatility allows your surgeon to fix multiple conditions on your foot in the same surgery without mixing different materials. 

 

Although there are many treatments options for bunions, the best solution is not the same for everyone. A thorough conversation with your doctor, where you can review your anatomy and discuss your individual goals and expectations will lead you to the right choice.

 

Dr. Johnson offers patients in the Santa Barbara area the leading non-surgical and surgical bunion treatments. However, he takes pride in taking the time to get to know each individual patient so he can offer the best treatment for them. 

 

Schedule a consultation online or call 805-568-9090 and decide the best treatment for you.

 

About our Santa Barbara foot and ankle surgeon, Abimbola Johnson, DPM

dr-abimbola-johnson

Dr. Johnson completed his residency at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, MN, a level I trauma and burn center affiliated with the University of Minnesota. In his final year, he served as the chief resident. He then completed a foot and ankle surgery fellowship at the UCLA-affiliated University Foot and Ankle Institute. 

 

Dr. Johnson has participated in research and lectured on various foot and ankle conditions, including bunion surgical techniques and fixation principles. He is a member of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) and the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). 

 

University Foot and Ankle Institute-Santa Barbara is proud to serve the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Isla Vista, Montecito, Summerland, Carpinteria, Ventura, Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez, Lompoc, Oxnard, and Santa Maria communities.

 

UFAI is nationally recognized for advanced foot & ankle treatment far beyond what a primary care physician can provide. Our foot and ankle specialists have decades of combined experience managing the special circumstances surrounding all types of foot problems, including plantar fasciitis (heel pain), ankle sprains (chronic ankle instability), diabetic foot care, ankle replacements, neuromas, and sports medicine.

 

Our Santa Barbara Podiatry Clinic

1919 State Street, Ste 206

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

(805) 284-0836

 

About Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is located about 90 miles north of Los Angeles, along the Pacific coast. Often branded as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara is a year-round tourist destination renowned for its fair weather, downtown beaches, and Spanish architecture. Local landmarks include Santa Barbara Mission, Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, and the Santa Barbara Harbor.

 

Sources 

1. Nix, S., Smith, M. & Vicenzino, B. Prevalence of hallux valgus in the general population: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Foot Ankle Res 3, 21 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1186/1757-1146-3-21

2. Peterson K, McAlister J, Hyer C, Thompson J. Symptomatic Hardware Removal After First Tarsometatarsal Arthrodesis. The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery 55; 1: 55-59 (2016)

3. https://ossio.io/the-science-behind-ossiofiber

433 Total 1st Party Reviews / 4.9 out of 5 Stars
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    I was very happy with my treatment. I've been to orthopedic doctors for other reasons and was given scant information and rushe...
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    Dr. Johnson was the consumate professional!
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    When I first started treatment with you I did not know that my insurance covered it. Your office pointed that out to me! My u...
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    Dr. Johnson was excellent. I appreciated that he took time to listen to what I was experiencing, ran tests to help determine ex...
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    Dr Johnson is outstanding and very professional!
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    not really, but I was very impressed
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    Visits with Dr Johnson are always pleasant. He is caring, informative, and friendly.
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    My mom loves Dr. Johnson, and his monthly toe nail care. Doing this myself for her always scared me, so my family is very grate...
    Dolphia B.
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    Doctor was very polite and knowledgeable
    Kathleen N.
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    Dr was great and helped me immensely.
    Jeremy H.
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