As we’ve discussed on this blog previously, bunion surgery is the only long-term solution to bunion pain. Over-the-counter treatment options like sleeves, pads, and cushions act to only dull bunion pain and don’t actually address the root causes of the issue. On the other hand, bunion surgery involves the removal of a painful bunion, as well as a corrective realignment of the foot. This makes bunion surgery a preferable alternative to suffering from bunion pain. One question we get from patients all the time, though, is if bunions can come back after surgery. Unfortunately, the answer to this question is yes. However, bunion recurrence is relatively rare and happens very gradually. We’ll explain further here:
Types of Bunion Surgery
There are dozens of different varieties of bunion surgery that a doctor may recommend to their patient. Indeed, bunion size, severity, and other health issues will affect your diagnosis and treatment options available. Most, but not all, bunion surgeries involve the removal of the actual bunion mass. (This kind of procedure is known as a bunionectomy.) In addition, many bunion surgeries also involve some form of corrective realignment. Remember that bunions form because of misaligned joints, muscles, and ligaments. So surgeons will often realign the foot to both reduce discomfort and prevent further issues from occurring down the line.
Why Do Bunions Come Back?
It’s worth noting that many individuals who undergo bunion surgery never experience bunions or bunion pain again. However, for the group that may suffer bunion recurrence, several factors can contribute to the reappearance of bunions. First, the unfortunate truth is that poorly performed bunion surgery might either fail to address misalignment or –– in some instances –– cause further foot pain to the patient. Second, engaging in certain activities may cause or accelerate the growth of bunions, even after surgery. These behaviors include wearing tight-fitting shoes or holding the foot at unnatural angles for long periods of time. Third, bunions may simply come back after many years because of the way a person’s foot is shaped. Lastly, as a person gets older, they may develop conditions such as arthritis, which can in turn contribute to bunions and bunion pain. Individuals who have bunion surgery at a young age are most likely to experience bunion recurrence following surgery –– since it takes bunions many years to form.
What Can You do to Prevent Bunions from Coming Back?
The best way to protect yourself from bunion recurrence is to speak with your doctor before surgery. Ask them about the long-term side effects of the procedure and how they plan to ensure proper foot alignment for years to come. Once you’ve done that, do your best to follow proper foot-health best practices, including wearing comfortable shoes and stretching your toes on a regular basis. You may even consider wearing a postoperative bunion splint to cut down on scarring and assist with the proper realignment of the toes. This can also help speed up recovery after surgery.
At Northwest Surgery Center, we specialize in minimally invasive surgery, and it’s our mission to alleviate foot-pain issues for all of our patients. Our expert team has years of experience in this field, and we can help you find a long-term solution to bunions and other similar issues. Contact us here to learn more about our methods or to schedule a free consultation today.
To learn more about minimally invasive bunion surgery, download our free “Guide to Minimally Invasive Foot & Ankle Surgery”!