The Return of the Bunion

We have discussed in prior blogs what a bunion is AND that not all bunions are alike and thus are not to be treated alike. I will not revisit the details of the how a bunion forms nor the treatment options that your Podiatric physician must weigh. What you must understand however is that it is possible for a bunion to return. The Return of the Bunion occurs about 10% of the time and there are reasons why it may happen. The following are those reasons.

  1. Under-correction it is a fine balance between the proper amount of correction and too much. The goal is to correct the IMA (intermetatarsal angle to a normal angle of 0-8 degrees. When this is not achieved you run the risk of developing another bunion deformity.
  2. Improper lateral release as with the bone cut and shift, it is an even finer line in too much lateral release and not enough. If you are too aggressive you risk potential hallux varus OR AVN of the metatarsal. Too little and you risk the return of the bunion.
  3. Bandaging your physician can do the surgical procedure properly but may accidentally place the bandage to tightly in a position that pushes the big toe in the direction it was just corrected from. Obviously this is not intentional, but it just shows that bandaging is just as important as the surgical procedure itself.
  4. Hardware sometimes the hardware may fail and the bone cut that was made loses its stability and may shift. Hardware failure may be within itself, but it may also come from non-compliance in the post-op orders your physician gave you.
  5. Wrong Procedure some times, but not often, the wrong bunion procedure was performed. This is never the intent of your physician.

As you can see, your physician has much to ponder when treating your bunion. Much thought and energy is invested before, during, and after the surgery. Some say a bunion is a simple procedure, but actually it is one of the more difficult surgeries due to the fine line that must be walked between overcorrection and under-correction.

If you are suffering from painful bunions and are in need of care, please contact Dr. Bowman at 713-467-8886 or visit

Category: Foot Problems

Tags: Bunions, Feet