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Among the things a person can expect from bunion surgery recovery are initial pain, discomfort or soreness, and stiffness in the area. Over time, a patient's pain and discomfort typically lessens. Gradually, she enjoys improved movement of her big toe. Recovery isn’t usually considered very difficult, but its success depends, at least in part, on following doctor’s orders.
The pain a person can expect from bunion surgery recovery is usually manageable with painkillers her doctor prescribes. Patients may require the regular use of painkillers to stay comfortable during the first few days of post-surgery recovery. With time, the pain should diminish to soreness that isn’t significant enough to require painkillers.
Another thing a person can expect from bunion surgery recovery is a somewhat long recovery process. Recover generally takes six weeks to six months after surgery, but sometimes can take up to an entire year. If a patient strictly follows her doctor’s orders, the length of recovery time depends mostly on how much bone and soft tissue were affected by the surgery. Often, a patient is able to resume many of her normal activities within six to eight weeks. Some may be able to drive and return to sedentary jobs after about a week.
The need to rest is something else a person should expect from bunion surgery recovery. For the first three to five days, the patient will need to put as little pressure on the affected foot as possible. Her doctor will likely advise her to apply an ice pack to the area, which can help to keep the swelling to a minimum. Keeping her foot elevated may help not only with the reduction of swelling, but also the relief of post-surgery discomfort.
After returning home from surgery, the patient will still have stitches in place. A doctor usually removes them within a few weeks. Patients may also have special pins in their feet for up to six weeks following surgery. Three to four weeks is more typical, however. While the stitches are in place, it’s important to keep the foot dry, covering it while taking a shower or bath.
Once a bunion surgery patient is back on her feet and walking again, she’ll probably have to use crutches. She may need them for a few weeks or even longer in some cases. In fact, some bunion surgeries require the patient to avoid putting her full weight on the affected foot for as many as six to eight weeks. It is important to follow doctor’s order on this, as keeping weight off the foot usually helps a patient recover more quickly.
Footwear changes are also among the things a person should expect from bunion surgery recovery. The patient may have a walking cast or special shoes designed for her recovery. Sometimes, patients can start wearing regular shoes again in a about a month. In most cases, however, it’s necessary to wear special shoes for two to three months following bunion surgery.