Many of my patients in the Worcester, MA area want to know what the recovery process is for bunion
surgery. Everyone has heard a horror story that recovery takes many months, they are going to be in
severe pain, and there are going to be complications with bunion surgery. I am going to explain what
bunion surgery is typically like afterwards, but I am also going to go over some of the more common

So starting with surgery, the day of surgery you are going to go home with a dressing
on your foot, you are going to be icing it and elevating it. For the first three days you should keep
your foot iced and elevated to help keep down the swelling, and you will take the pain medications as
needed. Usually on day three or day four, you will come into the doctor’s office to take off the initial
bandage and put on a smaller bandage and also check if there are any problems with the skin such as
any infections, which usually happen by that time. If there is no problem, another dressing will be put on
at that time, you will be transitioned to either a shoe or a boot, and you may or may not bear weight on
the foot or walk on the foot depending on the type of bunion surgery that you had. At this time, you are
going to either walk or use crutches for another ten days and then the stitches will come out. After that
you are going to have to wait for the bone to heal, which takes a total of six to eight weeks, with visits
in the office about every two weeks to get x-rays and look at it. A lot of my patients can go back to work
after a week or two if they have jobs where they can put their foot up and put ice on it. Usually for the
first couple of weeks you are not going to want to work because you are going to be in pain or you are
going to be taking pain medication which may make you a little drowsy. You should be able to get into a
normal shoe after about six weeks once the swelling goes down, and then you will be walking normally
after a few months. That is assuming that everything goes well.

Sometimes people can have different complications with their bunion surgery. Some of the more
common that I see are gapping in the incision that needs to be treated and healed with special wound
products; infection in the skin that can be treated with an antibiotic; blood clot in the calf that tends to
feel like pain in the calf which is the area away from the surgery, which can be treated with medication;
and slow-healing bone, which tends to be one of the most common conditions that I have seen recently.
If someone walks too much or moves the joint too much, they can dislodge the bone or dislodge the
hardware causing them pain in the bone and slowed healing. This can be treated with nonweight
bearing or taking the pressure off the foot, but as well can be treated with something called a bone
stimulator that can help this. So that is basically what the recovery is like after bunion surgery.