Wound Care

Types of Bunion Surgery

Types of Bunion Surgery

Posted On: November 13, 2020

Bunion is one of the most common foot disorders among adults in the United States. Studies have shown that about one-quarter to one-third of Americans adults have bunion. Bunion is significantly higher in women and older adults

If you are suffering from a severe case of bunion, you may need to undergo bunion surgery to correct your bunion.

Bunion surgery is a surgical procedure that corrects a deformed area of the big toe. Bunion surgery is necessary if nonsurgical treatment methods don’t relieve your pain or improve your bunion.

Doctors may recommend bunion surgery if:

  • Your pain restricts or prevents you from completing your daily tasks or activities.
  • You can’t walk a distance without experiencing severe foot pain.
  • Your big toe remains swollen and painful even after taking all prescribed medication and treatments.
  • Your big toe is deformed and you can’t bend or straighten it.

What are the different types of bunion surgeries?

There are different types of bunion surgeries. Some of the most common types of bunion surgeries are:

  • Osteotomy – Osteotomy is done to realign the big toe to its normal position. During an osteotomy, your surgeon will make small cuts in the joint bones of your big toe to realign the joint. After cutting the bones, your surgeon will then fix the bones with pins, screws, or plates. The bones will become straighter, and the joint is balanced.
  • Exostectomy – This surgery is done to remove your bunion from the joint without actually performing an alignment. During an exostectomy, your surgeon removes the bump from your toe joint. Exostectomy is mostly performed as one part of an entire corrective surgery that includes osteotomy and soft-tissue procedures.
  • Arthrodesis – This surgery is done to correct the deformity caused by the bunion. During this surgery, the arthritic joint surfaces will be removed. Screws, wires, or plates will then be appropriately placed to hold the joint surfaces together until the bones heal.
  • Resection Arthroplasty – This surgery is commonly used for older patients with severe arthritis and patients that have had unsuccessful bunion surgery. During this surgery, your surgeon will remove the damaged portion of the joint.

What is the best type of bunion surgery?

Osteotomy to realign the big toe to its normal position with screw, pins, and plate fixation appears to be the best type of bunion surgery. This is because it is minimally invasive and has fewer complications. The outcome of this surgery is also commendable.

How painful is bunion surgery?

Before undergoing bunion surgery, you will be given general anesthesia to put you asleep and unconscious throughout the surgery. You will not feel pain throughout the surgery. You will only experience minimal pain for the first 24-48 hours after the surgery when the effect of the anesthesia starts wearing off. In the next few days, you may experience varying levels of pain. Your doctor will prescribe pain medications that you will need to take to help with the pain during your recovery.

How long does bunion surgery take?

Bunion surgery takes less than an hour to be completed. You may need to spend more than an hour in the operating room due to the additional time it takes for the anesthesia to take effect.

What is the success rate of bunion surgery?

About 95% of patients that undergo bunion surgery experience significant improvement after the surgery. However, just like any other surgery, bunion surgery can fail. The common complications that can lead to failure of the surgery include loss of correction, under- or over-correction, delayed union, malunion or non-union of osteotomy or fusion. Other complications that may cause the surgery to fail are joint stiffness, nerve entrapment, and excessive shortening of the first metatarsal, hardware failure or irritation, infection, prolonged swelling, deep venous thrombosis, and complex regional pain syndrome.

Do screws stay in after bunion surgery?

Yes. The screws placed in the bone during a bunion surgery are left in position after the surgery. The screws are meant to remain in position permanently. The screws can only be removed in rare cases if the screws become painful or cause any complications.

What types of screws are used in bunion surgery?

Surgical high-grade stainless steel screws are the most type of screws used in bunion surgery. Surgical screws made of titanium are also used. The sizes of the screws can range from 1.5 mm to 7.3mm. Surgical screws are non-magnetic.

Does your shoe size change after bunion surgery?

No. The size of your shoe does not change after bunion surgery. You can continue wearing your regular shoe after 2 months of the surgery when the swelling and pain has been resolved.

What is the fastest way to recover from bunion surgery?

Keeping off your feet to reduce the weight of your body on your feet and applying ice on your feet and toe can help speed up recovery. Follow your doctor’s instructions and take all prescribed medications.

Types of Bunion Surgery

Do bunions grow back after surgery?

Bunions gradually return after surgery for many patients. Studies have shown recurrence rates of up to 25 percent. A common reason for the recurrence of bunion after bunion surgery is performing a surgical procedure that did not adequately and totally address the severity of the bunion.

At what age should you get bunion surgery?

Bunions can occur in children and adults. It is recommended that a bunion surgery should be delayed until about the age of 12 and above. This is because of the nature of a child’s foot and the growth plate centers that are present.


What happens if you walk too soon after bunion surgery?

If you walk too soon after bunion surgery, you’re exerting pressure on the surgical area that hasn’t healed. Excessive range of motion and pressure exerted too early will increase the amount of scar tissue that will form in the deep soft tissues of your foot.

How long should you stay off your feet after bunion surgery?

You can walk immediately after undergoing minor bunion surgery. For severe surgeries such as osteotomy, arthrodesis, or resection arthroplasty, you may have to stay off your foot for 2 to 3 months.

How long before you can run after bunion surgery?

After undergoing bunion surgery, some patients can engage in some limited weight-bearing exercises such as swimming or cycling in the 4th to 6th week after the surgery. Patients can only return to running in about 6 to10 weeks after undergoing bunion surgery.

Do you sleep with boot after bunion surgery?

After undergoing bunion surgery, you will need to wear a cast or a special type of shoe to protect your toe and to keep your toe in the right position for at least 3 to 6 weeks. Some people sleep with the shoe on for the first few days after the surgery. This is because it gives them a sense of more security and it protects their toes against any eventuality.