Patients considering bunion surgery should understand the following about surgical treatments of bunions:
- Bunion Surgery Is Not Cosmetic Surgery
Bunions may not be pretty, but cosmetic deformity is not a good reason to perform surgery. There are too many potential complications to perform a bunion surgery simply for cosmetic reasons.
- Patients Must Have Realistic Expectations
Bunion surgery can be helpful at relieving pain, but patients should not expect to have "normal" feet after surgery. In one study, a leading researcher on foot problems such as bunions, found that 1/3 of his patients could not wear the type of shoe they desired prior to surgery.
- The Foot Width Change Is Small
Bunion surgery decreases the width of the forefoot by about 1/8 of an inch. That's not much! That is the reason why even after surgery, most patients will not be wearing slender shoes.
The patients who tend to be unsatisfied with bunion surgery are those patients who are having surgery done to allow them to have normal looking feet or allow them to wear slim shoes. If that sounds like your motivation, think long and hard about surgery. Surgery should be reserved for those patients who have significant pain, and are unable to correct the problem with adaptive footwear.
Mann, R. "Disorders of the First Metatarsophalangeal Joint" J. Amer Acad Orthop Surg; Vol 3, No 1 1995; p 34-43.