NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Imagine having pain with every step you take.

Millions of people experience that with bunions. But they often put off surgery because of the long and painful recovery.

Now, as CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported, a cutting-edge procedure can have those people back on their feet fast.

Nisha Bhagad was among those living the painful reality of a bunion.

“We must have purchased so many shoes to make my feet comfortable, but nothing helps,” she said.

“You can really see her bunion pretty good here. When you put weight on it, it’s very raised,” said podiatrist Dr. Andrew Glass.

Traditional bunion surgery for Bhagad would have meant breaking a bone in her foot, inserting pins and staying off her feet for at least six weeks. But Glass has a different approach.

“We’re going to make one incision, one stitch right here and then another incision, one stitch right here, remove all the extra bone that’s there and just shave it down,” he explained. “No broken bones, no pins, no screws.”

Glass’ surgical method uses a tiny — rather than inches-long — incision. Shaving rather than breaking the bone means less trauma, and, he says, patients are on their feet the same day.

“That makes a big difference for your recovery time, so you can go back into a shoe so much faster because you’re not breaking the bone,” Glass said.

He also says there is less pain after the procedure, and patients are back to work in about a week.

“They don’t have to have big scarring as well, and with those things, you also get benefits of less infection and less complications after surgery,” Glass said.

Elaine Omenih was concerned about taking so much time off from work for surgery and was relieved to find the new method.

“The shoe thing was another thing, too. The protrusion in my shoes – uncomfortable,” she said. “My foot feeling uncomfortable in the shoes.”

“I was back to work in seven days (after the procedure),” Omenih said.

 

And it was a pain-free stroll for a post-surgery checkup for Bhagad, who was ready for work – and her own shoes – in a week.

“Liberating feeling that now I can wearing anything I want,” she said.

The procedure is popular in Europe and Asia, but it’s not as common in the United States because doctors haven’t trained for it and don’t have the proper equipment. It’s also not appropriate for every kind of bunion. But like traditional bunion surgery, it is generally covered by insurance.

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