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McDowell Podiatry
Call Us 916-961-3434
Toll Free 888-447-0733
Fax 916-961-0540

The Timeline of Bunion Surgery

Well, the time has come for you to finally get bunion surgery. The bony joint deformity on your foot isn’t getting any smaller—now it’s even starting to disrupt your daily life! The pain has transformed and dictated the way you work and play, causing more trouble than you ever expected. At McDowell Podiatry Group, we want you to consider this timeline to help you determine if surgery is right for you!

bunion examinationSix Months of Prolonged Pain or More: Consider Surgery

If you’ve been in severe pain from your big toe joint for more than six months, you might want to consider a procedure. You’d be a good candidate if your big toe is starting to drift inward towards your little toes. The affected digit may also be stiff, rigid, and impossible to bend.

Surgical consideration should only be given after you’ve tried orthotic therapy, a change in shoes,  and anti-inflammatory medications. Sometimes, this is all it takes to alleviate discomfort.  

One Month in Advance: Take Time to Find the Right Doctor

Choose a doctor you trust. A good doctor will not pressure you into the procedure. They will answer all your questions and explain the operation in detail. If you don’t feel right, get a second opinion from another surgeon. Many doctors will welcome your suggestions if they’re legitimate, well-trained professionals.

As far as when you want the procedure to happen, we leave that up to you. Bunion surgery is never so critical that it requires immediate operation. Some patients come into our office and want the procedure done as soon as possible. Others may want to wait a few months and work the surgery into their schedule to make their recovery convenient and uninterrupted.

A Few Hours of Prep and Procedure: Surgery Day

You will arrive around two hours early to the hospital for your outpatient procedure. Anesthetic options are numerous and an anesthesiologist will work with you to decide what is best. In many cases, the surgeon will administer a local anesthetic to your foot which will decrease the amount of anesthesia needed.

There are several different ways to correct a bunion. Your surgery should be individualized and designed off of your clinical and functional needs. The procedure should take about one hour with two hours of post-op care in the recovery room. 

One to Three Days After: Crutches are Your Friend

Once you’re discharged, you’ll have bandages and a shoe or cast surrounding the foot that was operated on. Keep the foot elevated as much as you can the first few days. Keep the dressings dry and make sure you tie a plastic bag around your foot when you shower. You’ll also need crutches for a few days while you heal.

Three or Four Days after Surgery: Walking without Help

If your surgeon allows you to weight bear, you can put more weight on your feet as the wound heals. We recommend that you only walk when it’s necessary for the first few weeks. After that, you can gradually work up your distance. Discuss with your surgeon about driving after surgery. 

Two Weeks After: Stiches Come Out

After your stitches are removed, you’ll still have to wear your cast or boot for six to eight weeks. After that’s taken off, you should take extreme caution to only wear tennis shoes or soft leather shoes.

Six to Eight Weeks Later: Full Recovery

It will take six to eight weeks for you to make a full recovery. This mostly depends how invasive your surgery was. Your recovery time also depends a lot on personal factors. Your age plays a part, as younger people tend to heal faster. Your overall health also determines how long it will take. Closely follow the directions your doctor gives you after surgery. The more you comply with instructions for home care, the more benefits you’ll see from the operation.

If we don’t see a normal progression of healing from bunion surgery, we’ll help you along the recovery process with physical therapy and other methods of rehabilitation. We’re only a phone call away! Just dial (916) 961-3434 to reach the McDowell Podiatry Group in Carmichael, CA. We also serve Roseville, Folsom, Citrus Heights, and Sacramento.