Bunion surgery consists of an incision in the top or side of the big toe joint and the removal or realignment of soft tissue and bone in that joint. The surgery is performed to help with pain and properly align the joint. In some cases, small wires, screws, and/or plates will be used to restructure the joint. Where bunion surgery is a common surgery, there is no guarantee that the surgery will fully relieve pain.
What to expect during surgery:
- An anesthetic that affects only the foot is commonly used for bunion surgery and a sedative may be used to relax the patient or put them into a sleep state.
- A small incision will be made at the big toe joint.
- The joint will be repaired sometimes using wires, screws, and/or plates.
- The incision is sealed.
- Bunion surgery usually takes an hour or more, depending on the type of surgery.
- This is an outpatient surgery.
What to Expect After Surgery:
It may take as many as 6 months to recovery after bunion surgery depending on the amount of soft tissue and bone affected. Complete healing may take as long as 1 year. Average recovery times fall in the 3 month range.
- When showering or bathing, the foot must be kept covered keeping the wound dry.
- Stitches are removed after 7 to 21 days.
- Pins are usually removed in 3 to 4 weeks but in some cases they are left in place for up to 6 weeks. Pins will stick out of the foot.
- Regular shoes can sometimes be worn in about 4 to 8 weeks depending on the invasiveness of the surgery. In some cases, it can be 3 to 4 months before you can wear regular shoes.
- No weight can be put on the foot immediately following surgery. Then there several weeks of partial weight-bearing with the foot in a special shoe or boot to keep the bones and soft tissues steady as they heal.
How Well Bunion Surgery Works:
After recovery, your ability to walk and do other activities is likely to improve from pre-procedural states. The big toe joint is generally less painful and may be more mobile. As stated earlier, however, total relief of pain is not a guarantee. Lastly, since the toe joint has essentially been rebuilt, the toe may look more normal than before.
As with all surgeries, there are many risks to consider including infection, medicinal side effects, recurrence of the bunion, and continued pain. This repaired toe joint may also become more susceptible to arthritis.
Alternatives to Bunion Surgery:
If the bunion is diagnosed early enough there may be alternatives to surgery like physical therapy, corrective devices, and lifestyle planning that can help. The key is early detection. Once a bunion has progressed past a certain point surgery becomes almost certain.
With our experience at St. Augustine Foot and Ankle we will do everything we can to help with your bunions and get you back to your regular activity. If you suspect you have a bunion or are feeling pain in your ankle or foot of any kind please give us a call to set an appointment as soon as possible at (904) 824-0869 or feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org