The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

When Crisco Just Won’t Do: Osteotomy and Other Surgical Bunion Fixes

Posted by on Monday, March 9th, 2015


Sometimes bunion sufferers go to desperate measures to ensure comfort. “Before the [Screen Actors Guild] awards I said, ‘Just in case something happens I told my husband to go to the store and get a can of Crisco,'” recalled Viola Davis, who won SAG awards in 2011 for her performance in The Help and in 2015 for How To Get Away With Murder.

“He’s such a beautiful husband, he said, ‘You want a small can or a big can of Crisco?'” she told Ellen Degeneres, explaining that the purpose of the vegetable shortening was to lubricate her feet to eliminate friction on the big toe from her shoes. While it may work well in a pinch, Crisco is not a long-term solution for bunion discomfort. Our NY podiatry office specializes in advanced solutions for bunion sufferers, when ruining your shoes with grease just isn’t an option anymore.

bunion surgery ny
Actress Viola Davis discusses her secrets for dealing with bunion friction, while NY podiatrists detail surgical options. Image Source:

Osteotomy: The Most Common Procedure

With an osteotomy, the podiatric surgeon cuts the big toe joint and realigns it into a normal position. A distal osteotomy treats mild or moderate bunions by making one or two small incisions in the foot, cutting the far end of the bone, and holding the new position with metal pins that are later removed once the bone heals (usually three to six weeks later). A proximal osteotomy, for more severe bunions, requires two or three small incisions, cuts in the middle or near end of the bone, and fixation with pins or screws until the bone heals. Often, surgeons doing a proximal osteotomy will perform soft tissue release of tendons and muscles to realign the joint. Once the osteotomy opening is stitched, a bulky protective bandage is placed on the foot, which then goes into a special surgical shoe.

Other Procedures: Exostectomy, Arthrodesis, and Lapidus Procedure

There are over 40 different options for bunion correction. For instance, when re-alignment is not necessary, a podiatric surgeon can simply remove the bony outgrowth from the joint. When the joint is damaged, arthrodesis replaces the joint with screws or metal plate implants. Sometimes arthroplasty is required to resculpt misshapen big toe and metatarsal bones. The Lapidus procedure fuses the joint where the metatarsal joins the mid-foot, to reduce unnecessary movement that contributes to the worsening of pain and deformity. A consultation with a trusted, experienced, board-certified podiatric surgeon is the best way to know which procedure is right for your particular situation.

What To Expect After Bunion Surgery

While everyone heals at different rates depending on a variety of factors, here is a general idea of the timeline for bunion surgery recovery:

1-2 weeks: Stitches are removed and you no longer have to cover your foot to shower.

3-4 weeks: Any pins sticking out of the foot are removed.

– 4 to 5 weeks: You may be able to start wearing regular shoes again.

– 6 to 8 weeks: Most regular activities can be resumed. With some procedures, there is no weight bearing until this time.

Sometimes it takes up to one year to notice complete strength, functionality, and resolution of discomfort. Yet, we find most people notice dramatic improvement for their quality of life as soon as the incision heals and swelling subsides. For more information on NY foot surgery for bunions, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in Manhattan or White Plains.


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.