A bunion is a structural abnormality/deformity of the bones and the joint that connects the big toe and the foot. It occurs when the affected bones enlarge and the consequence of this enlargement is the abnormal position of the big toe which turns towards the first nearby toe. Enlargement of the bone is prone to irritation caused by uncomfortable shoes which causes swelling of the affected area and tenderness. Doctors can treat bunions with two treatment modalities, orthotics and surgery. Orthotics includes bunion splints and separators. In surgical repair the surgeon corrects protrusion of the toe and performs its realignment.
Recovery time after bunion surgery depends on a couple of things. The first thing is how excessive the surgery is and the second factor is overall health of the patient.
Surgery for Bunions
The very type of surgery interferes in the recovery time. Four types of surgery for bunions are available and they include arthrodesis, resection arthroplasty, exostectomy and osteotomy. Exostectomy is not so frequently performed. It includes removal of the bunion. Because this surgical approach includes cutting of the excessive bone the recovery time takes a bit longer comparing to other types of surgery.
Recovery Time for Bunion Surgery
No matter what surgical approach has been applied the recovery time after bunion surgery ranges from 3 weeks to few months.
After the surgery patients are discharged the very day. There is no need for prolonged hospitalization. Anesthesia alleviates the pain for several more hours after the surgery and postoperative pain is then dealt with by prescribed pain killers. The operated foot is placed in a cast or is fixed by a special orthotic shoe. This prevents excessive movements and promotes better healing.
The first week after the surgery is definitely the hardest one. The operated foot is supposed to be bandaged. The patient may walk but only with the assistance of crutches. Still, patients are not advised to move, they should stay in bed and rest. This prevents putting too much weight on the operated foot. Furthermore, during first 10 days after the surgery the foot needs to be elevated. And finally, during showers and baths the foot needs to stay dry.
A few weeks after the surgery the stitches are removed and patients slowly get back to their regular daily activities. But, they should avoid excessive walking, driving and running for a little while. Slow increase of activities is highly recommendable and the doctor will provide with the best advice of how this can be achieved. In this stage the patient does not have to wear the orthotic shoe any more.
Taken all the previously mentioned into consideration as well as the age of the patient and his/her general health the overall recovery time lasts approximately 6 weeks to 6 months. In some patients recovery time may even prolong up to a year.