Bunion Recurrence After Surgery (2024)

Will my bunions come back after surgery? A question I am often asked!

One of the many reasons I carry out keyhole bunion corrections rather than traditional open 'scarf' surgery is due to the potential reduced bunion recurrence rates with a minimally-invasive technique.

Recurrence rates for bunion surgery have been reported as high as 16%. However, at 2 years post-surgery, my personal patient reported recurrence rate for the keyhole bunion surgery I perform, was 0.9%. So about 1 in 100 patients have their bunion return after 2 years. Whilst this percentage may increase over time, I have confidence that this is unlikely because of the power of correction possible when performing keyhole bunion surgery.

There are different technical reasons for this, one of which is that keyhole bunion surgery locks out the joint where the bunion originates from - the 1st Tarsometatarsal (TMT) - so it cannot move any further (purple circle on x-ray image below).

Bunion Recurrence After Surgery (1)

As a bunion deformity is actually caused by an unstable 1st TMT joint, not addressing this at the time of a bunion correction does not make sense. Keyhole bunion surgery 'maxes out' the joint, so it cannot move and therefore, reduces the risk of recurrence at this point. By contrast, open bunion surgery does not usually addresses this aspect and continued movement of this joint over time may mean the bunion will return.

Are you considering surgery for a bunion? Please contact us for any further questions or to book an initial consultation - I would be happy to see you.

Bunion Recurrence After Surgery (2024)


Bunion Recurrence After Surgery? ›

It's not uncommon for bunions to come back, even if you've had a bunionectomy. In fact, they're more likely to recur if your bunion surgery was simply to shave down the bone, as opposed to a procedure like a lapidus bunionectomy or other method of realigning the bones of the foot.

What is the recurrence rate of bunions after surgery? ›

One of the many reasons I carry out keyhole bunion corrections rather than traditional open 'scarf' surgery is due to the potential reduced bunion recurrence rates with a minimally-invasive technique. Recurrence rates for bunion surgery have been reported as high as 16%.

Can you have bunion surgery twice? ›

That's because a revision foot surgery can be performed by a specialist experienced in bunion revision surgeries to help restore motion and anatomical alignment at the great toe while improving the foot's cosmetic appearance and relieving pain symptoms.

How to prevent bunion recurrence after surgery? ›

When healed after surgery, a patient can wear a soft, comfortable splint to prevent shifting of the newly re-aligned toe. This is usually worn when the patient is non-ambulatory or during sleeping hours. It is also necessary to focus on what caused the bunion in the first place.

What is the recurrence rate of minimally invasive bunion surgery? ›

Even after successful surgery, the bunion recurrence rate is about 20% over a patient's lifetime. Bunions are genetically inherited and may tamper with surgical results in some patients. Mild bunion recurrence may occur and is well tolerated by patients and tends to occur over a long period.

Why do I still have a bunion after bunion surgery? ›

Bunions can recur because of medical conditions or non-healing of the bone after surgery.

Why did my bunion surgery fail? ›

Undercorrection, overcorrection, nonunion and malunion remain the most common causes of failed bunion surgery. Although patient factors definitely contribute to disappointing outcomes, most failures are the result of poor surgical decisions and/or poor surgical technique.

How long should you wait between bunion surgeries? ›

Many prefer to be done with the surgery all at once instead of waiting to do one at a time. However, many doctors recommend waiting six to eight weeks between surgeries and having one bunion removed at a time.

What causes a bunion to return? ›

Most bunion procedures involves shifting the head of the bone over and securing it with a pin or screw. This temporarily reduces the "bump" on the side of the toe, but fails to address the instability of the joint. Because of this, up to 40-60% of these procedures fail and the bunion returns over time.

How to stop bunions from coming back? ›

A bunion splint, for instance, may be worn when you're sleeping. Similarly, your podiatrist can create you a pair of custom orthotics. Your custom orthotics usually take the form of shoes made to fit your feet. Their soles, contour, and shape help lessen or redirect pressure on your feet.

What is the new procedure for bunions? ›

Lapiplasty® is a new procedure using patented technology to correct not only the bunion, but its root cause. It straightens three dimensions of alignment of the metatarsal bone. First, it corrects the sideways lean of your metatarsal bone.

How do you permanently fix bunions? ›

Surgical options

Surgical procedures for bunions can be done as single procedures or in combination. They might involve: Removing the swollen tissue from around your big toe joint. Straightening your big toe by removing part of the bone.

Can you stop a bunion once it starts? ›

Once a bunion starts to form, it can't be reversed. But the right shoes can help relieve foot pain so you can live your life. The right shoes can also help alleviate pressure on your toe joint.

What percentage of bunion surgeries fail? ›

During that time, you may experience pain, swelling, and stiffness. In addition, you may require physical therapy to help you regain full function of the affected foot. Another reason to avoid bunion surgery is the high failure rate. Studies have shown that bunion surgery has a failure rate of up to 40%.

What is the most severe bunion surgery? ›

Arthrodesis: Sometimes, arthritis inflammation can lead to bunions. In arthrodesis joint fusion, your surgeon removes any parts of the big toe joint that have arthritis. Your surgeon then places screws in the toe to hold the bones together while they heal. This surgery is only done with the most severe of bunions.

Does bunion surgery need to be redone? ›

Revision surgery isn't right for every patient with bunion surgery failure, but it may be right for you if you experience post-surgical arthritis, bone necrosis, compromised foot function, or severe stiffness. Overcorrection and under-correction are also possible reasons for considering a bunion revision.

How often do bunions grow back after surgery? ›

Typically, bunions do not come back after surgery. However, in rare instances your bunion can resurface. If the bunion comes back, your surgeon would have to look for a reason why this happened. For example, if the bone did not heal in the correct position or the initial surgery did not fully correct the bunion.

What percentage of bunion surgery is successful? ›

Q: Will bunion surgery fix my bunions permanently? A: Bunion surgery is an effective solution for most people as it has an approximate success rate of 85-90%.

Does surgery permanently fix bunions? ›

The only way to permanently remove bunions is surgery, sometimes called a bunionectomy. There are a few different ways to surgically remove a bunion, and all are common. Your podiatrist will take a look at your foot to determine the best approach to help you find permanent bunion relief.


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