Advertisement

Can a bunion recur after bunion surgery?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
Most bunion procedures involve removing the bony bump on the inside of the big toe. Sometimes, the doctor will also cut or remove other segments of the big toe's metatarsal bone in order to realign the metatarsal-phalangeal joint and decrease the angle of the big toe relative to the second toe. This makes for a more involved procedure—which is not without risk—but it also reduces the chances of recurrence.

Occasionally people think a bunion has come back when the big toe has only drifted slightly toward the second one. Age, weight gain, arthritis, and other factors can loosen up the capsule that normally holds the metatarsal-phalangeal joint in place.

I recommend having surgery again for bunions only if the patient is having a significant amount of pain and discomfort in the foot during everyday activities. A second operation can help correct any laxity problems of the metatarsal-phalangeal joint and capsule, and, if necessary, fix the joint's alignment.
Harvard Medical School Foot Care Basics: Preventing and treating common foot conditions

More About this Book

Harvard Medical School Foot Care Basics: Preventing and treating common foot conditions

Got gout? Or bursitis? Do your arches ache or your heels hurt? If so, you are among the three out of four Americans who will suffer some kind of foot ailment in their lifetimes. There are at least...

Continue Learning about Corns, Calluses & Bunions

Should I Worry About This Bony Bump on My Foot?
Should I Worry About This Bony Bump on My Foot?
Among the many joys of getting older—along with gray hair, wrinkles, and mid-section bulge—are bunions, those annoying bony bumps that form on the sid...
Read More
What should I expect during recovery from bunion surgery?
Dr. Christopher P. Chiodo, MDDr. Christopher P. Chiodo, MD
During recovery from bunion surgery, you may have to wear a bandage and special shoe—or possibly a c...
More Answers
How are corns and calluses formed?
Diana MeeksDiana Meeks
Calluses are thick, rough patches of skin that many people have on the bottom of their feet. They ar...
More Answers
What Should I Think About If I Have Bunion Surgery?
What Should I Think About If I Have Bunion Surgery?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.