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Tips for Recovering After Bunion Surgery

Tips for Recovering After Bunion Surgery

Bunions typically form at the base of your big toe. This type of bony deformation can become painful and difficult, making shoes fit poorly.

At his podiatry practice in San Jose, California, Dr. Leonard Greenwald starts with the most conservative treatment options for your bunion. But in the case of a severe bunion, surgery might be necessary. If you do need surgery, Dr. Greenwald supports you through every step of the process, including your recovery. 

Understanding your bunion surgery

Before your surgical procedure, make sure you understand the type of surgery needed to correct your bunion. When you know more about your procedure, you can better anticipate your needs during post-operative recovery.

The goal of your procedure is to get your big toe back into correct alignment with the rest of your forefoot. Your bunion surgery may involve realigning ligaments, tendons, nerves, and bones.

Depending on the size and nature of your bunion, your surgery may be an outpatient procedure. Or, you might need to plan on a short stay in a hospital.

Dealing with dressings after your bunion surgery

After your bunion surgery, it’s important for your foot to stay in the corrected position while healing occurs. You’re discharged to recover at home with bandages and dressings holding your toe right where it needs to be.

The need for bracing or dressings can last for as long as 6-12 weeks after your bunion surgery procedure. Managing these dressings is a key element of your at-home recovery. Be sure to follow all instructions about your wound dressing.

Keep your wound and dressing dry. Cover your foot with a plastic bag when you shower or bathe. Don’t disturb your dressing without consulting Dr. Greenwald first. Your stitches are typically removed at a follow-up office visit about two weeks after your surgery.

Resting during your recovery

You might be sent home from your surgery with a special shoe or cast to protect your foot. As you continue to recover, it’s important to rest your foot in the right ways.


Keep your affected foot and leg elevated as much as possible, propping your foot up with pillows as needed. This reduces the overall amount of swelling and pain you have to cope with.

Limit your walking as you recover after bunion surgery. Dr. Greenwald may recommend using a cane or walker for a period of time as you recover. You should also plan on avoiding driving for at least the first week following your procedure.

Since tight-fitting shoes and high heels can contribute to the formation of bunions, it’s important to let the front of your foot gain strength after your bunion surgery. Wait at least six months after surgery before wearing high heels.

Tips and tricks to speed your recovery

If you handle your recovery correctly, not only do you heal faster, but your foot heals stronger, making the recurrence of a bunion less likely. It’s worth the time to deal the right way with pain, swelling, and flexibility after surgery.

Dr. Greenwald may recommend periodic icing for your foot. Don’t put the ice pack directly on your skin, though. Protect your tissues with a towel wrap before icing.

Your treatment plan includes the right medications to address pain and prevent infection. Take recommended painkillers and make sure to complete your course of antibiotics if Dr. Greenwald prescribes them.

Dr. Greenwald also gets you started with physical therapy stretches and exercises to help you regain strength and range of motion, post-surgery. If you keep up with your recovery plan, you have a higher chance of full success with your bunion removal procedure.

To learn more about bunion surgery, including post-operative care, contact our office today. Schedule your appointment with Dr Greenwald over the phone or use our online scheduling tool to book your visit.

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