Bunion surgery recovery tips

bunion treatment

Bunion removal is a surgical procedure in which doctors remove a bony bump, known as a bunion, that develops at the base of the big toe. If various therapies fail to provide relief, people may need bunion surgery. It typically works out well.

Bunions can be excruciatingly painful and raise the chance of developing additional foot disorders. According to Research, bunions affect up to 23% of people between the ages of 18 and 65, and 35% of people over 65.

The goal of surgery is to:

  • reduce foot pressure and pain
  • Toe joint repair
  • put someones feet back into normal alignment

What to expect before, during, and after the procedure is described in this article. It also offers non-surgical treatments for bunions.


bunion treatment
A doctor will assess the bunion before recommending a type of surgery.

Depending on a person’s symptoms, the shape and size of their bunion, and other considerations, a doctor will choose the type of surgery.

The following are examples of bunion repairs:

Repairing tendons and ligaments

If the bunion is caused by tight or loose soft tissues, a surgeon may relax tight tendons and ligaments or tighten loose ones.

This technique is frequently performed in conjunction with others.


The surgeon makes a cut in the bone and inserts pins, screws, or plates to close the gaps. These devices aid in straightening the toes and reducing misalignment.

A small amount of bone may need to be removed sometimes.


Exostectomy is usually performed in conjunction with other procedures such as soft tissue removal and osteotomy. Exostectomy is the surgical removal of the bony bump on the big toe.

If a doctor performs an exostectomy on its own, the bunion will most likely reappear because the underlying reason is not addressed.


Before utilizing plates, screws, or wires to keep the surfaces together, the doctor will remove regions of arthritic joints. This sort of surgery is commonly performed on people who have arthritis or severe bunions.

Resection arthroplasty

During this type of bunion ectomy, the surgeon eliminates damaged parts of the joint to create more space between the bones.

The big toe’s power can be reduced through a resection arthroplasty. As a result, it is often reserved for elderly persons, people with arthritis that an arthrodesis may not be able to address, and people who have undergone previous types of bunion surgery that have failed.

Before beginning the process

Before surgery, a doctor may request the following tests:

  • an electrocardiogram, to check heart health
  • an X-ray of the lungs
  • urine and blood tests, to detect illness or infection

Before having a bunion removed or any other sort of surgery, people should make sure they are in good health. People should do the following to stay healthy before surgery:

  • eat a healthful diet in the weeks before the procedure
  • exercise regularly, to encourage faster recovery
  • quit smoking at least 4 weeks beforehand, to reduce risk of infection

Any medications that a patient is taking should be discussed with a doctor. Before having surgery, you may need to stop taking certain medications, such as aspirin or warfarin.

The doctor will also tell you how long you should fast (not eat or drink) before operation. This is usually determined by the type of anesthesia used and the length of time the procedure will take.

During the treatment

Before they begin, a doctor will prescribe anaesthetic, either local or general. A general anesthesia renders the patient asleep for the duration of the surgery. The majority of people, on the other hand, have a local anesthetic that numbs them below the ankle.

The surgeon will execute the procedure after the anesthesia has taken effect. Individuals who are considering bunion surgery should speak with their doctor about the specifics of the procedure.

After that, the surgeon will wrap the foot in a bandage. Patients will be taken to the recovery room, where they will be closely monitored. The team will keep the following in mind till the anesthesia wears off:

After surgery, most people are able to return home within a few hours. People should not drive themselves following general anesthesia, therefore they will need to arrange transportation home before going to the hospital.

Recovery process

surgical boot
Following bunion surgery, a surgical boot may be required.

A doctor will give you recovery instructions, which you must carefully follow in order to speed up your recovery and avoid complications.

People may be required to:

  • For rehabilitation exercises and strategies, visit a physical therapist.
  • To reduce swelling, apply cold packs to the foot and toe.
  • To protect their foot and leg from shifting, they should rest and elevate them.
  • When showering, place a plastic bag over their foot to keep the wound and stitches dry.
  • To relieve pain and avoid infection, take pain relievers and antibiotics.
  • After surgery, you should avoid wearing high heels for at least 6 months.
  • For several weeks, you must wear a surgical boot.
  • For a few weeks, use crutches or a knee walker.
  • To relieve pain and prevent recurrence, use shoes with large toe boxes.

Following their doctor’s recommendations, people can gradually reintroduce weight to their foot. After 1 to 2 weeks, they may be allowed to drive.

The stitches are usually removed after two weeks, although people may need to wear bandages or a foot brace for another six to twelve weeks. It can take up to a year for a person’s foot to fully recuperate and return to its normal size.

Individuals may have multiple follow-up consultations with their doctor during this time, as well as one or more X-rays of the foot to determine whether or not the surgery was successful.

To reduce problems and bunion reappearance, it is critical that people wear supportive and appropriate footwear.

It’s possible that some people will never be able to wear high heels or shoes with narrow toe boxes again. Wearing constrictive footwear between the ages of 20 and 39 years old may be a risk factor for the development of bunions, according to a 2016 study published in the Journals of Gerontology.

When to contact your doctor

If any of the following symptoms arise during the healing period, people should contact a doctor:

  • the wound dressing comes loose, gets wet, or falls off
  • blood or drainage fluid soaks through the dressing
  • medications cause adverse reactions
  • symptoms of infection appear, including fever, chills, shortness of breath, and warmth or more pain around the wound

Bunion surgery alternatives

Typically, doctors will only propose surgery if the problem is severe or if previous therapies have failed.

People who are unable or unwilling to have their bunions removed may benefit from the following treatments:

  • wearing supportive shoes with a wide toe box
  • avoiding high-heeled shoes
  • using bunion pads or shoe inserts, which are available over the counter, to reduce pressure on the toe
  • taping or splinting the toe into its correct position
  • wearing a toe spacer between the big toe and the one beside it
  • applying ice to inflamed feet
  • taking pain-relieving medicines recommended by a doctor
  • getting cortisone injections into the foot to bring down pain and swelling
  • seeing a physical therapist for ultrasound therapy, exercises, and other treatments


Most people who have bunion surgery will experience an improvement in their symptoms, including less discomfort and improved alignment of the big toe, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

According to studies published in 2012, effective surgical therapy results in a good or very good outcome for 85 percent of persons and a satisfactory outcome for the remaining 10% of those who have the surgery.


  • https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/treatment/bunion-surgery/
  • https://academic.oup.com/biomedgerontology/article/71/12/1682/2513750
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323391
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3528062/