What to Expect After Bunion Surgery

Bunion surgery recovery will take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months, depending on the specific type of bunion surgery and on how carefully you take care of your foot when you are home recuperating.

You should expect during the first week to keep your foot elevated and to apply ice packs in order to keep down the swelling. Stitches are usually removed after one week.

When you can walk normally after bunion surgery and resume your usual activities will depend on the type of bunion surgery you have. Your main concern is having the bones in your foot heal and for the successful fusion to take place. To what degree you can place weight on your foot will depend on how that healing is progressing.

Usually for the first few days, you will be lying down or sitting with your foot propped up on pillows. You will only get up to go to the bathroom or to get something to eat, if you don’t have someone else in the house who can bring you meals. Your doctor may have fitted you with a surgical shoe to help you get around, or you may use crutches.

The recovery time after bunion surgery depends on the amount of soft tissue and bone affected. In some instances, a full year is needed for complete healing.

As with all surgery, the speed and success of your recovery will largely depend on how carefully you follow the doctor’s instructions in the immediate aftermath of your operation.

The first 3 – 4 days after surgery are critical. Your concern during this period is to keep down the swelling as much as possible. Also, you will have to keep the stitches and dressing dry, so covering your foot with a plastic bag when showering will be necessary.Your entire recovery from the bunionectomy procedure will be affected by the degree of foot swelling after surgery.

Keep your foot elevated above your waist, and apply ice packs for the first several days. No matter how tedious this routine may seem to you, it’s nothing compared to months and months of misery you could be faced with if you don’t do this. So, be diligent about elevating your foot and applying ice. These are the two most important things to do to keep down the swelling and thus prevent your recovery time from the bunionectomy from dragging out too long.

As for walking, you want to put as little weight on the foot as possible in the beginning. Remember, during those first few days you are supposed to be sitting with your foot elevated at every possible opportunity (get yourself a stack of good books or movies), but when you have to walk, you will probably be advised to use crutches or a walker.

However, you should really arrange things so that you are on your feet as little as possible for the first two weeks. Stairs are certainly to be avoided. If your bedroom is upstairs, make sure you change things around in your house before your surgery so you can sleep and rest downstairs.

Even if you you start to feel fine sooner than expected, resist the urge to start walking before you are supposed to.  Don’t push yourself! It just isn’t worth the risk of increased swelling. This is often a hard part for anyone who has undergone surgery of any kind.

Be sure to closely follow any other directions from your doctor so your recovery from bunion surgery will happen as speedily as possible.

Back to Top