I Just Had Bunion Surgery….Now What?

Congratulations, you have successfully undergone surgery to correct your bunion, now what? While it is important to remember that every surgery is unique and your post-operative instructions and recovery should be discussed with your surgeon, below are some tips to help on your road to recovery.

The first 24 hours after your bunion surgery:

  • What to Expect After Bunion Surgery, University Foot and Ankle Institute, Dr. Brayton Campbell

    Discuss your post-operative instructions and recovery with your surgeon.

    Do not drive a car or operate any machinery that requires your full concentration.

  • Do not drink any alcohol or take any recreational drugs.
  • Eat light meals and avoid greasy or spicy foods.
  • Have someone stay with you and help you with your daily activities.
  • Limit your activity to only performing essential duties.
  • Do not sign any legal papers or make any major decisions.

Managing your discomfort:

  • Elevate. Keep your leg elevated as much as possible for the next 48 hours. Try to keep your foot higher than your heart, unless instructed otherwise by your surgeon. Keep your knee slightly bent when elevating.
  • What to expect after bunion surgery

    Ice your leg down for 20 minutes per hour for the first 48 hours after surgery

    Ice. Keep your leg cool. Ice your leg down for 20 minutes per hour the next 48 hours, unless instructed otherwise by your surgeon. Place an ice pack above the cast or boot. The ice will cool the blood flow to the foot and keep swelling and pain to a minimum. If you have loss of feeling or notice significant blanching of the skin, discontinue icing immediately.

  • Medication. Take anti-inflammatory medication as prescribed by your surgeon. Take your pain medication as prescribed for the first 48 hours. When you arrive home, take the pain medication according to the instructions. This will help keep your pain minimal when the anesthesia wears off. I recommend continuing the pain medication according to the directions for the first 48 hours. After 48 hours, you may take the medication only as you need it.

Taking care of your Incision:

  • Keep your dressing dry and clean.
  • Do not remove your surgical dressing.

When to call your bunion surgeon’s office for assistance:

  • Increasing swelling accompanied by pain.
  • Increasing pain not relieved with rest, elevation, ice and the pain medication.
  • Coldness, numbness or a sustained blue color to your extremity.
  • Sudden onset of calf pain.
  • Sudden onset of shortness of breath or chest pain.

Following the above guidelines can help reduce your pain and discomfort after bunion surgery. Remember that every surgery is different and it is important to discuss your recovery with your surgeon.

The bunion surgeons at University Foot and Ankle Institute are nationally recognized experts in their field. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, we encourage you to call (877) 989-9110 or visit us at www.footankleinstitute.com.

Dr. Brayton Campbell
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Dr. Brayton Campbell

Dr. Brayton Campbell received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree from Des Moines University College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery. He then took his residency at Department of Veterans Affair’s Loma Linda Healthcare System in Ohio as part of three-year program designed to produce a podiatric surgical specialist who is an expert in the recognition and management of all foot and ankle conditions. Brayton continued his training by pursuing a fellowship at UFAI.

Dr. Campbell enjoys the outdoors and shortly after he moved to Southern California took up surfing. However, when the waves are flat you can find him on the golf course or riding his motorcycle.

Dr. Campbell is available for consultation at our Santa Barbara office.

Learn more about Dr. Campbell by visiting our website: http://www.footankleinstitute.com/podiatrist-santa-barbara
Dr. Brayton Campbell
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One comment

  1. Thanks for the great article all about bunion surgery recovery. My mom said that she might need to get her bunions removed and I want to know how to take care of her. That’s so interesting that even by putting ice on the leg, it will help because it’s cooling down the blood flow.

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    Kristina W.
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