How Do You Recover From a Bunionectomy?


Quick Answer

Recovering from bunionectomy surgery involves keeping the affected foot elevated above your heart to keep the swelling down and reduce the pain, according to John Hopkins University. You may also need to take pain medication, ice your foot, limit walking or use cane for the first two weeks after surgery. You also need to keep the incision area dry and clean until it is fully healed.

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How Do You Recover From a Bunionectomy?
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Full Answer

A bunionectomy involves removing the enlarged portion of the bone that is causing the bunion and realigning the muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding the joint. After the surgery, expect to be given a special surgical shoe to wear home. Your doctor may want you to continue wearing it or another type of surgical support shoe for several weeks after surgery, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

You must keep your foot elevated above your heart level for the first few days by keeping it propped up with pillows. You may be instructed to ice the incision area to help reduce the swelling and pain. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center recommends icing the area for 15 minutes at a time, every one to two hours for the first two days. Take any prescribed pain medication as directed by your doctor.

You may also be required to use a cane or walker for the first two weeks to keep pressure off of your foot. Keep the incision area dry at all times by covering your foot with a plastic bag if you need to shower, or by taking a sponge bath. Once your dressings and any stitches have been removed, your doctor may recommend only wearing supportive athletic or soft leather shoes with no heel for the first several months after surgery. Foot-strengthening exercises may also be encouraged to restore your foot's range of motion. Total recovery time for bunion surgery may take up to six months.

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