What to Expect When Recovering From Bunion Surgery

It’s estimated that nearly 25% of adults in the United States have a bunion, or what we medically refer to as hallux valgus. While bunions develop slowly, they can cause pain and make it hard for you to do the things you enjoy. Surgery may be recommended.

As with any type of surgery, bunion surgery is invasive and it can take some time for you to recover. Dr. Patrick D. Roberto at Achilles Foot Care, with offices in Delmont and Monroeville, Pennsylvania, wants you to know what to expect during the recovery phase of your bunion surgery so you can prepare yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically.

About the procedure

Here at Achilles Foot Care, we’re always looking for surgical treatments that provide you with the most benefits and fewest risks, and Dr. Roberto corrects the foot deformity using the Lapiplasty® procedure. With this method, Dr. Roberto not only aligns your joints and bones, but rotates your metatarsal back into position. This method prevents a recurrence of your bunion, which is common with the more traditional bunion procedures.

After your procedure, we place your foot in a controlled ankle movement (CAM) boot so you can retain your mobility while your bones heal.

However, while we use an advanced method to treat your bunion and provide supportive equipment so your life isn’t too limited, recovery time is the same. It takes 6-8 weeks to recover from bunion surgery, and 6-12 months for a full recovery and resolution of remaining symptoms. During your recovery, we follow up with you regularly at the office to monitor your progress.

Caring for yourself at home

The key to a successful recovery from your bunion surgery is following the instructions we provide when you go home. Because each case is different, everyone gets specific instructions based on their individual needs. That said, there are certain things that are important for everyone while they recover from bunion surgery.

While we give you a CAM boot to help you get around, which most people can use immediately following their surgery, you still need to rest your foot to allow the bones to conform to their new alignment. After we send you home, you should spend most of the first few days sitting down with your foot elevated on a couple of pillows with an ice pack to reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain.

Dr. Roberto provides specific instructions regarding when it’s OK for you to put weight on your foot. It’s important that you comply with these instructions so you don’t impact the healing process.

You also want to do everything you can to keep your dressings dry and clean. Be sure to cover your foot with a plastic bag that you can tie when taking a shower or bath to prevent your foot from getting wet.

Your sutures may be removed about two weeks after your surgery, but you need to continue to wear your CAM boot for up to six weeks.

Getting stronger with exercise

Once you’ve hit a good stage in your recovery, Dr. Roberto may refer you to physical therapy or provide specific exercise instructions to help you regain strength and mobility in your foot and toes. The exercises usually start slow and build over time as your strength and tolerance improve.

When can I go back to work?

You may need to take several weeks off from work no matter what kind of job you do so your foot gets the rest it needs. If you have a relatively sedentary job, you may be able to go back to work fairly soon after surgery, but if you have a strenuous job that requires heavy lifting, you may be out longer.  

When can I wear shoes again?

It may be several weeks until you can wear shoes following your bunion surgery. Dr. Roberto advises on the best types of shoes to wear to prevent injury and support healing. In most cases, that means athletic or soft-leather shoes. You may not be able to wear your more fashionable shoes for six months, and even then you may need to purchase new sizes because bunion surgery may cause an increase in your shoe size.

When it comes to recovering from your bunion surgery, you need to be realistic and patient with yourself. Everyone recovers differently, but we do what we can to make sure you can enjoy your walks or your round of golf without bunion-related pain as quickly as possible.

To get help with your bunion from a podiatric expert, call Achilles Foot Care today, or book a consultation online.

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