Bunion surgery generally involves making an incision in the top
or side of the big toe joint area and removing or realigning soft tissue and
bone. The goals of surgery for bunions are to:
- Relieve pain and restore normal alignment to
the toe joint.
- Restore, as much as possible, normal weight-bearing
distribution to the foot.
- Allow you to return to normal
You may have to consider surgery if your bunion results in
persistent, severe pain that limits your daily activities or if you have a
severe foot deformity.
- Bunions: Should I Have Surgery?
Surgery is not recommended if you:
- Have not tried nonsurgical
- Have other health problems that make surgery dangerous.
If you have
diabetes, neuromuscular disorders, or circulatory
problems that limit blood flow to your feet, discuss the risks of surgery with
your doctor. Such conditions increase the chance of complications
- Have unrealistic expectations about the results of
surgery (such as being able to wear any kind of shoe).
Athletes, children, and people with certain health problems are generally advised to take a conservative, nonsurgical
approach when considering bunion treatment.
What to think about
Joint replacement surgery is not often done to repair a bunion. If your doctor recommends joint replacement, get a second opinion.
Some issues to consider when deciding about bunion surgery:
- The type of surgery used depends not only on
how severe the bunion is but also on your surgeon's experience. Look for a
surgeon who does many different types of bunion surgery on a regular basis.
Each bunion is different, and surgery needs to be tailored to each case.
Research does not show which type of surgery is best.
may return after surgery, especially if you continue to wear narrow or
- A review of bunion surgeries shows that up
to 30 out of 100 people who have surgery for bunions are disappointed in the result,
despite the pain being less and the toe being straighter.1
- Your expectations may influence your satisfaction
with the surgery. For example, although surgery may improve your foot's
appearance, those who make appearance their primary reason for surgery are
generally disappointed in the results. Discuss your expectations with your
- Surgery may reduce the flexibility of the big
toe joint, which may be a concern if you are active and need a full range of
motion in the big toe.
- You will have to stay off your foot for a while after