Treating Juvenile Bunions
A bunion can’t be reversed – at least not without surgical intervention. When a bunion is in its early stages like this, our main goals will be to slow the bunion’s progression and manage any symptoms that may be present. Ideally, this will make the bunion be barely any problem for the child throughout their life.
How do we do this? One goal may be to control any biomechanical issues that might be contributing to the base instability. An abnormality in foot structure or gait is often a contributing factor. If we manage that, we can take a lot of excess stress off the unstable joint.
The fact that your child’s feet are still developing and growing can serve as both an advantage and a disadvantage at this time.
The growth plate (where new bone grows) is at the base of the toe. If growth occurs in an unfavorable direction, it can worsen the problem. However, we are also more capable of manipulating the growth at this time to achieve a better, more stable structure.
A minor surgical procedure called epiphysiodesis can gently alter this growth by manipulating the bone. It is a bit like pruning a tree for optimal growth.
Other potential routes of treatment and management exist, all dependent upon the specific situation and the needs of each young patient. Dr. Leibovitz will naturally discuss all options with you, and happily answer any questions regarding his recommendations.