Recovering from bunion and forefoot
This information is provided so that you can become
better informed about the process of having bunion surgery
and forefoot surgery. Remember, your actual surgery
may be slightly different, and your body and your personal
circumstances will dictate the speed and comfort of
your recovery to a large degree. Use this information
is a guide only. Your mileage may vary!
What happens immediately following surgery
Immediately following surgery, you will be cared for
in our day surgery facility. The nurse will assist you,
and a physical therapist may work with you to make sure
that you can mobilize yourself safely. Your foot will
be fitted with a postoperative shoe. There will be a
bulky dressing around the foot, which usually stays
on until the first doctor's visit. You will be given
crutches or a walker if you need them. You will need
a friend to drive you home.
For your comfort
You'll be given prescriptions for strong pain medicines
to maintain your comfort during the first few days when
the pain is the worst. Please see this
page for more details about our pain management
Returning to activities and to driving
We recommend that you avoid making any big plans for
the first one or two weeks following your surgery. You
need this time to rest and prop your foot up. Patients
who have surgery on the left foot may begin driving
as soon as they feel comfortable doing so, but they
should not drive while using narcotic pain medicines.
Patient to have surgery on the right foot should not
drive until given clearance by the doctor.
Putting weight on the foot
You'll be able to walk on the foot right away, putting
your weight on the heel area only. It is vitally important
that you comply with these instructions. After six weeks,
if the healing of the bone is satisfactory, you will
be able to put your weight on the front of the foot.
Returning to work
You may be able to return to work as soon as three
days after surgery, or you may need to wait as long
as eight weeks. The ability to return to work is dictated
by your job, your driving, and your work duties, not
so much by the surgery. Once you are comfortable walking
on the heel of your foot, and you do not need to take
strong pain medicines during the day, you should be
able to return to work. In most cases this is about
two weeks. If you have questions about your particular
return to work requirements, contact us.
Getting back to normal shoes can take months
Surgery for bunions and related foot problems is a
relatively short outpatient surgical procedure, but
the whole process of recovery takes time. Walking normally
in comfortable shoes can be expected between three and
six months after the surgery. It may take one full year
for some tenderness and slight swelling of the foot
to be completely gone. Once full recovery has occurred,
you should be able to wear any reasonable shoes.