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Hammertoe Surgery and Bunion Surgery Gone Wrong

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If you have a hammertoe or a bunion, you definitely know how annoying these conditions can be and how they can affect your everyday life. Surgery is usually the way to resolve these problems, but it’s not always a perfect solution. Are there any cases where hammertoe surgery and bunion surgery have gone wrong? Sadly, in some cases, the surgery doesn’t turn out the way you want it to, so let’s learn more about the possible complications.

Bunion Surgery Gone Wrong – Factors That Come Into Play

Bunion deformity, also known as hallux valgus, is a common condition in which a bump forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. It’s essentially a bone deformity that eventually becomes painful and requires treatment. In most cases, non-surgical treatment will fail, leaving the patient with surgery as the only option. 

However, even the surgery can sometimes fail to bring the desired results. This can be due to a surgeon’s technical error or simply because of poor decision-making. Patient-related factors can also contribute in some cases. These factors are numerous, but we will list a few of the most common ones:

  • Comorbidities such as osteopenia and obesity,
  • Skeletal immaturity, 
  • Flabby, weak ligaments,
  • Neuromuscular diseases,
  • Smoking, 
  • Poor compliance with post-surgical restrictions,
  • Continuing to use uncomfortable and unrecommended shoes. 


Before any surgery, your specialist will do a detailed evaluation so they can decide on the best operative technique for your deformity. Sometimes, they can make a mistake and choose a procedure that’s not an adequate option to fix the problem. This can result in the recurrence of the bunion – it was undercorrected, and thus it returned. 

One of the most common mistakes that occur during bunion surgeries is failing to correct the intermetatarsal angles to less than 10 degrees. The surgeon might also (in fewer cases) fail to correct the distal metatarsal articular angle – it should also be less than 10 degrees. If it’s not, there will be residual deformity or recurrence of the bunion. 


Overcorrections happen less often than undercorrections, but they lead to more significant symptoms and patient dissatisfaction. Overcorrection is a result of poor technical skills – the surgeon has made a technical error. This is why we note the importance of choosing a skilled and experienced specialist who will do the procedure correctly. 

What can go wrong? Possibilities include the too aggressive release of the lateral soft tissue, overdoing the resection of the protuberance, and overcorrection of the intermetatarsal angle. If this happens, the patient might develop a hallux varus deformity, which will require a second surgery in most cases.

Nonunion and Malunion

Nonunion is a condition where a broken bone doesn’t heal. Malunion occurs when the fractured bone heals incorrectly – in an abnormal position, leaving the bone looking bent. These conditions can develop after performing the first metatarsal osteotomies simply because of the small bone size and limited area for correction. 

If the patient fails to comply with weight-bearing restrictions or has osteopenia, or the surgeon has made a technical error, nonunion or malunion might develop. Both of these problems cause symptoms and will require a second surgery to fix. Revision surgery might include bone grafting, repeat osteotomy, and revision fixation. 

Hammertoe Surgery Gone Wrong – What Can Happen?

Hammertoe is a deformity where one of the lesser toes (most commonly the second one) is permanently bent at a certain angle to the foot and can’t be straightened. This condition is quite painful and, in most cases, requires surgery to fix permanently. Some patients only need a tendon to be cut, and some require bone trimming – the type of hammertoe surgery depends on the case. But what if even the surgery fails – what exactly can go wrong? 

The first possibility is that your surgeon has failed to diagnose the correct underlying issue that caused the hammertoe to develop, leading to the use of improper fixing methods. They might also choose the wrong surgical procedure to fix your deformity. 

Even if the right procedure was selected, there’s always a chance of not following through with it in the correct manner. If your surgeon doesn’t perform the procedure correctly, your toe might become distorted and twisted, or you might develop a floating toe (the toe can’t touch the ground). It might also present rigid or lose its function. 

A foot with deformed toes

For More Information, Consult With Your Surgeon in Miami

As you can see, complications after hammertoe and bunion surgeries can happen if the surgeon isn’t as skilled as they should be. To ensure you avoid any issues after your procedure, you will need to find the best specialist to perform your surgery – and we can help you with that. Luxe Foot Surgery clinic has the best surgeons in Miami. 

We will be happy to explain everything about the procedure and expected results when you come in for a consultation. You can schedule an appointment via an inquiry form, or you can call our office – we are open Monday-Thursday from 9 AM to 6 PM and on Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM.


Can Hammer Toe Surgery Fail?

Yes, hammertoe surgery can fail for several surgical-related reasons. The most common causes include the wrong diagnosis of the underlying cause of the hammertoe, failing to choose the best surgical method to fix the issue, or failing to perform the surgery correctly. 

Can Botched Hammertoe Surgery Be Fixed?

Yes, botched hammertoe surgeries can be fixed with a second surgery. The revision surgery can successfully re-correct the problem in most cases. 

How Often Do Bunion Surgeries Fail?

Bunion surgeries don’t often fail – just in about 5-10% of cases. However, some studies have shown that about a third of patients aren’t satisfied even if their pain goes away and the toe alignment improves. 

What Is the Success Rate of Bunion Surgery?

The success rate of bunion surgeries is about 85-90%. Some data suggest that the success rate might even go up to 95%, depending on the type of procedure that was performed.


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