Bunion surgery can sometimes cause further problems, as can leaving bunions untreated.

Untreated bunions

Many bunions will never cause problems, but some may get worse if left untreated, so it's worth seeing your GP if you have one.

Untreated bunions can lead to further problems, such as arthritis in the joint of the big toe. The big toe can also cause deformity of the second toe, by pushing it out of place.

Surgical complications

In less than 10% of cases, complications occur after bunion surgery. These will depend on the type of surgery you have and can include:

  • infection
  • deep vein thrombosis (DVT) 
  • stiffness in your toe joints
  • a delay or failure of the bone to heal, or the bone healing in the wrong position
  • pain under the ball of your foot
  • damage to the nerves in your foot
  • prolonged swelling and continued pain
  • the need for further surgery
  • thickened scar tissue
  • the bunion returning
  • complex regional pain syndrome – a condition that causes long-term burning pain in one of the limbs  

Speak to your GP or surgeon if you have any concerns after surgery, or if you experience any of these complications. They can advise you on how to deal with these complications, including further treatment options.

Page last reviewed: 14/08/2017
Next review due: 14/08/2020