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Family Foot Care & Surgery, LLC

Returning to Health: Recovery from Bunion Surgery

Having a bunion surgery is a big step. Fortunately, medical advances have made the procedure, and healing afterwards, safer than ever before. Investing in a full recovery from bunion surgery does take time, though, and you shouldn’t try to cut it short. A proper recovery can be the difference between healing well and chronic pain.

The Point of the Procedure

Bunion surgery corrects the bony deformity that develops when your big toe and first metatarsal slide out of alignment. Over time, the condition makes it more and more painful to wear normal shoes or use the foot normally. Conservative methods for treatment can be highly effective for relieving pain in most cases, but they cannot correct the deformity. Only surgery can realign the bones.

Usually a bunionectomy, or bunion removal, is brought up when noninvasive methods are not sufficient for eliminating your discomfort or stopping the progression of the problem. The procedure can be performed in multiple ways, depending on the severity of your condition. The key to restoring your foot and relieving your pain, however, is based almost as much in your post-surgery recovery as it is in the procedure itself.

Healing the Digit

Recovery from bunion surgery takes time, but is absolutely necessary to be able to walk normally. As soon as your surgery is completed, Dr. Sanjay Patel and our staff will bandage your digit to keep it covered, sterile, and in the correct position. Your foot will also need to be protected from pressure and walking. This will mean wearing a special surgery shoe, walking boot, or cast after the procedure. The stiff footwear will keep you from bending and using the affected joint as it recovers. In some cases, you may need to keep weight off of your foot for a few days so that the bones can heal.

Your foot will be swollen and somewhat sore after the surgery. For the first few days in particular, keep your limb elevated as much as possible and ice the foot multiple times a day. This will discourage edema. We may recommend anti-inflammatory painkillers to help ease your discomfort. You’ll need to use physical therapy exercises to help maintain your limb’s range-of-motion as well. We’ll show you a series of stretches and exercises to build up the muscles in your feet and keep your joint moveable.

Depending on the type of procedure you undergo, you may be able to return to wearing normal shoes in anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Stitches will be removed when Dr. Sanjay Patel has determined that the incision is healed. Our staff will continue to follow up with you and your foot until the joint has healed enough that you are able to return to normal activities.

Beware of Infections

Proper recovery from bunion surgery also involves avoiding infections. Like any other opening into your body, your surgical incision can become an entry point for bacteria if you aren’t careful. You need to pay attention to your foot so you can seek prompt help if a problem arises. The area around your stitches becoming hot to the touch, appearing red, or starting to bleed are all major symptoms of an infection. Be suspicious of pain that doesn’t decrease when you take medications or swelling that travels up your calf muscle as well.

Recovery from bunion surgery takes time, but doing it right is vital for restoring your foot to full health. If you’re looking into a bunionectomy, or you’re concerned about your procedure in any way, let us know at Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. in Hamden and Milford, CT. Send us an online request to make an appointment. You can also call either location to reach us: (203) 288-4055 for the Hamden office, or (203) 876-7736 for the Milford location.

Dr. Sanjay V. Patel
Dr. Patel has over 20 years of experience in the field of podiatric medicine and podiatric surgery.