With bunion surgery, a patient should expect an outpatient procedure that usually involves local anesthetic for the foot. Although there are more than 100 different types of bunion procedures, recovery generally takes between six weeks and six months, according to WebMD.
In general, bunion surgery involves a cut in the side or top of the joint in the big toe, followed by adjustment or removal of the bone and soft tissue inside, in order to realign the joint and ameliorate pain. In some cases, the surgeon adds plates, screws and/or wires to hold everything in place, notes WebMD.
After bunion surgery, the stitches come out within one to three weeks, states WebMD. Protruding pins generally are removed within three or four weeks, although some stay in for six weeks. Patients often wear splints, walking casts or special shoes for a month or more. Many patients must wait six to eight weeks before putting any weight on the foot. Once recovery is complete, the patient is likely to have improvement in walking and other activities with less pain and more flexibility in the big toe joint. There are risks of recurrence of the bunion, a bent big toe, damage to the toe tendons or restriction in the joint's movement.