This surgery is done on people who are not helped by other bunion treatment methods. It is also done when the bunion is causing pain and problems walking.
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
Toe may be misaligned or too short
The bunion may return
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
Any allergies you may have
Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
Arranging for a ride to and from surgery
Tests that will need to be done before surgery, such as X-rays
The doctor may give:
Local anesthesia—the area will be numbed
General anesthesia—you will be asleep
Description of the Procedure
A cut will be made into the foot near the bunion. The excess bone will be removed. A cut may also be made into the bone of the toe to treat a severe bunion. The bones will be realigned so that the toe no longer slants to the outside. Other repairs may also be done. A metal pin, screw, or rod may be used to hold the bones in place. The incisions will be closed with stitches. A bandage will be placed over the area.
How Long Will It Take?
30 minutes to 2 hours
Will It Hurt?
Pain and swelling are common for two weeks after surgery. Medicine and home care can help.
Average Hospital Stay
You may be able to go home the same day. If you have problems, you may need to stay overnight.
At the Hospital
After surgery, the staff may:
Give you pain medicine
Place a surgical shoe or cast on your foot
Teach you how to use a cane or walker
During your stay, staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
Washing their hands
Wearing gloves or masks
Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection, such as:
Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and staff to do the same
Reminding staff to wear gloves or masks
Not letting others touch your incisions
It will take a few weeks for the incisions to heal. Full recovery can take up to 8 weeks. Physical activity will need to be limited at first. You will need to ask for help with daily activities and delay your return to work.
Call Your Doctor
Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
Redness, swelling, a lot of bleeding, or any leaking from the incision
Pain that you cannot control with medicine
Swelling or pain in the calf or leg
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Bunion surgery. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00140. Updated February 2016. Accessed July 29, 2020.
Easley ME, Trnka HJ. Current concepts review: hallux valgus part 1: pathomechanics, clinical assessment, and nonoperative management. Foot Ankle Int. 2007 May;28(5):654-9., commentary can be found in Foot Ankle Int 2008 Apr;29(4):464.
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