So what’s the truth about what’s going to happen to me after Bunion Surgery?
When your surgery is complete, you’ll be taken to the recovery room while your anesthesia wears off. This could take 2-4 hours, depending on the strength of the anesthesia. Recovery nurses will monitor your heartrate, breathing, blood pressure, and the circulation in your foot, checking for regained sensation.
Your foot may be placed in a cast or a surgical shoe. Your doctor will let you know when it’s okay to remove it. When you’re ready to be discharged, a close friend or relative will need to drive you home. You may not drive yourself or take public transportation home.
At home, rest and elevate your foot on a pillow and use icepacks to help with swelling. Depending on the bunion surgery, your doctor may advise you to avoid walking for 2-3 days. If you must walk, use crutches or a walker.
Caring for your Dressings
Your bandages and/or cast should be kept clean and dry. Wait 2-3 days after surgery to take a shower. To keep it dry while showering, cover it with a plastic bag sealed with tape. Some people find it easier to take sponge baths.
Change your dressings according to your doctor’s instructions. Wash your hands any time you need to touch the surgical site.
Don’t scratch, pick, or pull on your stitches or staples. If the site is itchy, ask your doctor about anti-itch creams.
Ask your doctor about pain relief medications. NSAIDs like ibuprofex and naproxen are usually preferred. Avoid aspirin, as it can thin the blood. Some patients may be prescribed antibiotics if there is high risk of infection.
Risk of Infection
Call your doctor right away if you’re showing any of these symptoms:
- Increasing swelling, redness, pain, or drainage at the surgical site
- Fever, sweats, or chills
- Nausea and vomiting lasting longer than 1 day
Bunion Surgery Recovery Time
Your recovery time will depend on the type of surgery performed. While you should be able to return to your normal activities after a month or two, a full recovery typically takes about 4-6 months.
During the 2 weeks following your surgery, you’ll need to stay off your feet as much as you can. Some patients may not be able to put any weight on their foot at all for a few days. Typically, you will wear a surgical boot or a cast for 4-6 weeks, and depending on the severity of your bunion, you may need to use crutches to get around. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to get you on your feet faster.
Follow these guidelines for returning to work after bunion surgery:
- You may drive a car after 1-2 weeks.
- If you work from home or have a sedentary job, you may return to work after a few days.
- If your job is more physically demanding, ask your doctor when you may return to work.
- Avoid wearing high heels for at least 6 months.
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