#treatment - Foot & Ankle

Bunion Surgery

Bunions are a common foot deformity characterized by a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe, where it meets the foot. This condition is medically known as “hallux valgus.” Bunions develop when the big toe pushes against the adjacent toe, causing the joint to enlarge and protrude outward. The prominent bump can be accompanied by inflammation, redness, and pain.

Bunion Surgery

Bunion Surgery

Bunions, are those bony bumps that often form at the base of the big toe, and can be a source of discomfort and pain for many individuals. While non-invasive treatments such as orthotics and lifestyle adjustments may provide relief, some cases may require more advanced intervention. Bunion surgery, also known as bunionectomy, is a viable option for those seeking a long-term solution to this common foot ailment. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into what bunion surgery entails, what happens during the procedure, the associated risks and benefits, and what to expect during the recovery process.

Understanding Bunions:

Before we explore the surgical aspect, let’s briefly understand what bunions are and why they develop. Bunions are characterised by a misalignment of the big toe joint, causing the big toe to angle towards the second toe. This deviation leads to the formation of a bony lump on the joint, often resulting in pain, swelling, and difficulty in finding comfortable footwear.

Various factors contribute to the development of bunions, including genetics, improper footwear, and foot structure abnormalities. Over time, the constant pressure on the big toe joint can lead to inflammation, making everyday activities such as walking or standing painful.

Bunion Surgery

Foot, toes, bunion

When is Bunion Surgery Recommended?

Bunion surgery is typically considered when conservative measures fail to provide adequate relief, and the bunion significantly impacts one’s quality of life. Your orthopaedic surgeon will assess the severity of the bunion, considering factors like pain intensity, restricted mobility, and the impact on daily activities. The decision to undergo surgery is a collaborative one, involving thorough discussions with your healthcare provider.

The Bunion Surgery Procedure:

Bunion surgery involves the removal of the bony prominence and realignment of the affected joint to alleviate pain and improve function. There are different surgical techniques, and the choice depends on the severity of the bunion and other individual factors.

One common procedure is the osteotomy, where the surgeon cuts and realigns the bone to correct the deformity. Another method involves removing a portion of the bone or fusing the joint. Your surgeon will determine the most suitable technique based on the specifics of your case.

The surgery is typically performed under local or general anaesthesia, and the duration varies depending on the complexity of the procedure. Patients are usually able to return home on the same day, although some cases may require an overnight stay.

Risks and Benefits:

Like any surgical procedure, bunion surgery carries certain risks. These may include infection, nerve damage, stiffness, or recurrence of the bunion. However, it’s important to note that serious complications are rare, and the majority of patients experience significant relief from pain and improved foot function.

Benefits of bunion surgery include pain reduction, improved joint alignment, and enhanced mobility. Many patients report increased satisfaction with their appearance and the ability to engage in activities that were previously limited due to bunion-related discomfort.

Recovery Process:

Understanding the recovery process is crucial for patients considering bunion surgery. The initial days post-surgery involve rest and elevation to minimise swelling. Your surgeon may recommend the use of crutches or a special shoe to avoid putting excessive pressure on the operated foot.

Physical therapy and prescribed exercises play a vital role in restoring strength and flexibility to the foot. Gradual weight-bearing is introduced, and patients are advised to follow a customised rehabilitation plan. The complete recovery timeline varies among individuals but generally spans several weeks to months.

It’s important to adhere to postoperative care instructions, attend follow-up appointments, and communicate any concerns with your healthcare team. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including proper footwear choices and foot care, is essential to prevent the recurrence of bunions.


Bunion surgery is a viable option for individuals seeking lasting relief from the discomfort and pain associated with bunions. Understanding the procedure, risks, and benefits is crucial in making an informed decision about your foot health. Remember, open communication with your healthcare provider is key throughout the entire process. While the recovery period may require patience and commitment, many patients find that the benefits of bunion surgery significantly improve their overall quality of life, allowing them to walk confidently and comfortably once again.


Article edited by Mr Suresh Chandrashekar