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Braking After Bunion Surgery
Date:8/26/2008

ns; genetics may also play a role.

In some cases, bunions make it very painful to walk. When this happens, surgical treatment may be required to realign the bone, ligaments, and tendons and bring the big toe back to its correct position. After this surgery, many patients main concern is about their ability to drive a car.

The researchers studied 28 patients who underwent a first metatarsal osteotomy for hallux valgus on the right foot, using a custom-made driving simulator to assess:

-- Total brake response time (the time for the entire braking process)

-- Reaction time (the time it takes for a person to perceive a danger and to decide on a motor response)

-- Actual brake time (the time it takes to lift the foot off of the accelerator pedal, move it to the brake pedal, and then depress the pedal)

Patients were assessed before surgery, and at two and six weeks after surgery. A control group of twenty-eight individuals matched for age, driving status, and sex was also included for comparison.

At two weeks after surgery:

-- Only 25 percent of patients were able to complete the test, and the reaction time, brake time, and total brake response time were just slightly higher than they had been before surgery.

At the six-week review:

-- Patients' reaction, brake, and total brake response times were better than they had been before the bunion was repaired.

This is the first study to specifically address this concern, which is not only a safety concern for the patient, but for the public as well. "Before we started this project, we contacted multiple government agencies and insurance companies to find out what advice patients are given about driving after foot surgery and were very surprised to learn that no guidance existed," Holt says. "We found this not only surprising, but also unsatisfactory; anecdotal experience told us that patients are generally allowed to drive after a period of six weeks a
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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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