If your bunion causes a lot of pain or if the deformity of your joint is severe, your podiatrist might recommend bunion surgery. Bunion surgery reduces pain and it may make it comfortable to wear shoes and allow you to be more active. Here's a look at what happens when you get bunion surgery and what to expect during recovery.
How Bunion Surgery Helps
There are several different approaches to bunion surgery, and your doctor decides what's best for you depending on how severely your joint is affected. Surgery often involves cutting out part of the bone and realigning your big toe, which might involve aligning the tendons and ligaments too. If your case is severe, you might need the joint replaced or bones fused together. Bunion surgery may require general anesthesia and a short hospital stay, but many bunion surgeries are done as an outpatient using just a nerve block on your foot.
What To Expect During Your Recovery From Surgery
Before you have bunion surgery, your doctor will explain the procedure as well as the expected recovery time so you can plan your time off from work and prepare for the things you'll need while you recover at home. The recovery phase of bunion surgery varies quite a bit depending on the type of surgery you have done. You might need to wear a surgical shoe or a cast depending on the type of surgery you have. If the surgery is minor, you might be able to walk fairly soon after your operation with assistance from a cane. If you have more extensive surgery, it could be a few weeks before you're very mobile. If you have a cast, you might have to use crutches, and you'll need to elevate your foot as much as possible.
The length of time you need to take off work depends on the type of surgery you have and the type of work you do whether you sit in a chair most of the day or if you're on your feet all day. It may be several weeks before you can resume many of your activities including driving. A full recovery from the operation could take several months and require physical therapy to strengthen your muscles after a long period of keeping your foot immobile. You'll want to prepare your home in advance to make recovery easier when you can't stay on your feet or walk around very well for the first few weeks.
Recovering from bunion surgery might make life inconvenient for a few weeks, but it's worth it when you finally get relief from your pain. Surgery isn't always necessary for a bunion, but when the pain affects your daily life, it's an option to discuss with your podiatrist to see if it's right for you.