If you’ve ever had a bunion, you know they can be both painful and unsightly. But what happens when your bunion is overcorrected during surgery? You could end up with a deformed toe that is completely arthritic. Here’s what you need to know about this potential complication of bunion surgery known as hallux varus deformity.
I was diagnosed with a bunion and my doctor recommended surgery to correct it.
When someone has Hallux valgus deformity, which is the medical term for a bunion deformity, the doctor might recommend surgery as the best way to fix it. This can be scary but is often the right choice if it remains painful despite shoe modifications, orthotics and other conservative measures. Sometimes, though, the surgery result can be too much and create a deformed toe that is arthritic known as hallux varus deformity. It is important to know what to do if this happens so that any issues can be solved quickly and properly.
I had the surgery and everything seemed to be going well, but then I started noticing that my toe was starting to look deformed – I was told it was “hallux varus”
After undergoing a bunion removal surgery, it can be alarming to notice that your toe may no longer look like it used to. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be experiencing Hallux varus – a condition where the big toe is overcorrected during healing and begins to point too far inward. To address this issue, if not severe enough, splinting and other physical therapy measures could be considered, helping the foot to regain its mobility and enabling the toe to move back into its original position. If the deformity is significant enough, it probably needs to be addressed ASAP with surgery.
The toe is now completely arthritic and I can’t even wear shoes anymore because of the pain.
Living with an overcorrected bunion can be physically and emotionally taxing, especially when your toe is completely arthritic. The pain of wearing shoes becomes unbearable, leaving you with difficult choices for going about your daily life. It’s important to talk to a doctor about your condition and what measures you can take to return your toe back to a healthier state. The best thing you can do is educate yourself on the lifestyle changes and treatments available in order to properly manage your condition, such as orthotic inserts or physical therapy, so that you can enjoy life without debilitating pain preventing it.
You’ve tried everything to fix hallux varus, but nothing has worked so far. Surgery might be a solution for you
If you’ve experienced an overcorrected bunion, you know all too well how painful and frustrating it can be. From custom inserts to various treatments, it can seem like nothing is stopping the problem. If you have already tried all the methods and options, don’t lose hope — others have gone through something similar.
In most cases we will recommend a surgery to correct the overcorrected bunion deformity. If the bunionectomy was performed a long time ago, the joint can become arthritic. In this case, the procedure of choice is known as a fusion of the big toe joint.
This is an excellent procedure that is utilized for a variety of conditions that can affect the big toe. It is considered to be the gold standard for end-stage arthritis of the big toe joint. In this procedure, any remaining cartilage is removed from the joint, the big toe is put back into a better position and locked in place. Essentially, the body is being tricked into thinking that there is a fracture where the joint was and the bone solidifies completely in a anatomically appropriate position. Orthopedic hardware is placed across the surgical site to stabilize the bones throughout the recovery process.
This is an excellent procedure to use for this complex problem because it tends to be the most definitive if all goes well from a healing standpoint. The expected postoperative recovery after a great toe joint fusion typically entails 2 weeks of strict no weight on the foot and then the patient is protected in a fracture walker/cam boot for approximately 4-6 additional weeks postop.
The healing process is visualized and monitored with x-rays which are taken in the office. Around that 6 to 8-week mark postop, the patient is transitioned into regular sneakers and can typically advance their activities as tolerated. Patients do quite well postop with a fused big toe joint. In fact, patients that seem to do the most well of those that are highly active and potentially involved with endurance running and other sports.
It can be extremely frustrating to have a surgery to correct an original issue and then you end up with a new issue postop. If this deformity is caught early enough, sometimes it can be fixed earlier and other procedures can be used that are not a fusion.
Everyone’s bunion journey is different and this can be especially true for those whose bunions have been overcorrected. Although a full resolution of the problem may not always be achievable, there are still steps that can be taken to alleviate the pain and reduce symptoms. For example, corrective shoe inserts can help to provide cushioning and support which can help to relieve some of the discomfort associated with an overcorrected bunion. Additionally, using anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen can also help to reduce swelling. By understanding treatment options, people with overcorrection bunions can achieve effective relief and live more comfortably in spite of their diagnosis. My story reminds us that taking proper care of our bodies and understanding our limitations is essential for long-term health.