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:

  • Orthopedist treating bunion

    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.
  • 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.

2 comments

  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.

  2. I like that you talked about how you must ensure that you will take your pain medication according to the instructions given by your surgeon to keep the pain minimal once the anesthesia wears off. My husband is looking to have his bunion operated as soon as possible because of how it affected his quality of life.

    It’s important for him to ensure that he knows what he should expect and consider after the surgery to better take care of himself. He also worries about the pain that’s associated with the surgery, so your tips are helpful. I will make sure to share your blog with my husband and we already setup a consult with you for next week. From all I have read and heard, we will be better off coming to Santa Monica to see you than having the surgery done here in Orange County.

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