What To Expect If You're Facing Bunion Surgery

If your bunion is so painful that you can barely make it through work or go about your usual activities, then it may be time to consider surgery. When changing the type of shoes you wear and using orthotics or padding doesn't do anything to relieve the pain, then your condition may be so severe that surgery is the only option for permanent pain relief. Here's what to expect when you undergo bunion surgery. 

It's An Outpatient Procedure

Bunion surgery is usually done in the podiatry clinic as an outpatient. You should allow several hours for the procedure since you'll need to stay at the clinic until your condition has stabilized after the procedure. Your doctor will probably give you a local anesthetic that numbs your foot from the ankle down. You'll want to wait until the numbness has subsided before you can go home.

The Types Of Bunion Surgeries

When you have a bunion, you develop a bony growth on the outside of your big toe. This causes your toe to lean toward your other toes. When you have surgery, the doctor may remove the bunion only or you could have your toe realigned as well. An osteotomy involves cutting into your toe joint so damaged tissue can be removed and so it can be manipulated to straighten your toe. If your doctor performs an exostectomy, he or she will remove the bony bump without doing a toe realignment. With the bunion gone, your toe may gradually move back into alignment on its own.

It may be necessary for the doctor to perform arthrodesis surgery. With this procedure, your toe joint is removed so the bones in your toe can fuse together. To stabilize your toe, the doctor will use a metal plate or screws to hold the bones in place. This process also straightens your toe so it has a normal appearance.

The Recovery Period

You'll need to wear a special boot on your foot after you have bunion surgery so your toe is protected. Your podiatrist may even have you wear a cast so your toe and foot are immobile to allow your toe to heal in place. After a couple of weeks, you'll switch to wearing a brace that you may need to wear for several weeks longer until your healing is complete. In addition, you'll need to stay off your feet. Your doctor will let you know when you can bear weight and return to work. You will need crutches or a knee walker to get around for the first several days after surgery.

It can take several months to fully recover from bunion surgery. Your foot may be swollen for a few weeks. You may develop some muscle weakness in your foot and ankle due to inactivity. If so, your doctor might refer you to a physical therapist so you can learn exercises that strengthen your muscles so you won't strain yourself once you fully resume normal activities. You'll also need to change your footwear to shoes with wide toes so no pressure is on your toes when you walk.

You may have some discomfort for a few days after your surgery, but you'll finally have relief from the bunion pain. Keep in mind, bunions are often caused by wearing stylish shoes with tight or pointed toes. So to prevent a painful bunion from forming on your other foot, be sure to wear comfortable shoes that give your toes plenty of room. For more information, talk to a doctor at facilities like Collier Podiatry PA.