Bunion surgery

This page explains what you can expect from bunion surgery. Your GP or health professional will be able to answer specific questions for you.

Bunions explained

Bunions are hard lumps associated with the big toe joint nearest to the foot. Sometimes bunion sufferers also have arthritis in the same joint. The development of bunions is often associated with wearing ill-fitting shoes that do not allow enough room for the toes.


Should I have surgery?

The main benefit of surgery is the straightening of the big toe, allowing footwear to fit more comfortably.

I do not want surgery. What should I do?

Wearing carefully selected footwear will make the bunion more bearable.

What happens in an operation?

An operation usually takes less than an hour. Your surgeon will adjust the tightness of the ligaments to realign the toes. There are various anaesthetics, which will be discussed with you.

Will there be complications?

You might experience any, or none, of the following:


• Pain
• Bleeding
• Infection of the surgical site
• Scarring
• Blood clots
• Difficulty passing urine


• Nerve damage
• The bone does not heal well
• Difficulty moving the big toe
• Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of the foot (complex regional pain syndrome)
• Pain in the ball of the foot
• The bunion comes back

What is the anticipated recovery time?

Patients usually return home on the day of surgery or the next day.

The affected leg should be elevated for a period of one week after surgery, to allow the swelling to settle.

Your surgeon may decide to put your operated leg in a plaster cast for a few weeks and it is likely that you will require a walking aid such as elbow crutches to assist you until the pain and swelling settles down.

You may continue to exercise regularly in order to facilitate recovery, but consult your GP or healthcare team before you begin exercising.

You will be able to wear normal, soft footwear after the swelling goes down. This is likely to happen around six weeks after the operation, possibly longer.

In summary

If you find that a bunion is causing you discomfort, surgery should result in a straighter big toe. You should also be able to wear normal shoes more comfortably after surgery.

We look forward to hearing from you to discuss your needs and see how we can get you the best treatment, quickly and affordably.

Please contact us for further information about treatments not listed here

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