Is your big toe leaning slightly towards the other toes? Is there a bony bump formation at the base of your big toe? That can be a bunion! Are you planning to get this bunion removed surgically? Want to know what is the recovery period for bunion surgery? Read the following for answers.
What is a Bunion?
When the base of the big toe constantly pushes outward against the metatarsal, which is the first foot bone, which lies directly behind it, it results in formation of a painful bony bump called bunion at the base of the big toe. The symptoms of a bunion are redness, swelling, tenderness and pain in the foot’s ball and at the base of the big toe. These areas also become warm and shiny.
Life with a Bunion
Bunions generally form at the joint where the toe normally bends when one walks. But when one has bunion, walking can be a painful task for these individuals. This is because each time these people take a step, their entire body weight falls on this bump causing immense pain. Moreover, rubbing of shoes against theses bunions can also trigger the formation of calluses. Wearing shoes which are very narrow or very small in the toe area most commonly causes bunions. This can simply be thought of as a pressure-response effect. Compared to men, women are more likely to develop bunions.
Initially, non-surgical treatments are used to relieve the pain caused by bunion. However, if these prove ineffective, one may need to get the bunion removed surgically. The bunion must also be removed if it starts causing difficulties in walking and carrying out the daily activities, for the individual. The surgical procedure which is carried on to rectify this foot deformity is called a bunion removal surgery or bunionectomy. Hallux valgus means “foot deformity” in Latin and so this surgery is also known as hallux valgus correction.
What Is The Recovery Period After Bunion Surgery?
Depending on the amount of bone and soft tissue affected, the general recovery period after bunion surgery can last for 6 weeks to 6 months. Additionally, it may take up to a year for complete recovery to occur. The ability to walk and perform other activities improves after the bunionectomy. The pain in big toe joint is relieved considerably, which in turn improves patient’s mobility. After the incision gets healed and the swelling fades away, the toe starts looking more normal than before.
What Are The Dos & Don’ts Of The Recovery Period from Bunion Surgery?
While recovery after bunion surgery takes about 6 to 8 weeks, full recovery from bunion removal surgery can take around 4 months to a year. In the first two weeks following the bunion surgery, the patient needs to wear a surgical boot or cast to guard their foot and must avoid getting their stitches wet. Once the cast or boot gets removed, these individuals must wear a brace to support their foot while it heals. Since these patients would not be able to bear their body weight on their foot initially, they would need to use crutches for the required support. It is advisable for these patients to keep off their feet as much as possible. They should apply ice packs on their foot and toe to accelerate the healing and reduce inflammation. After 1 or 2 weeks, patient can drive if required. The affected foot generally remains slightly swollen for a few months after the surgery. Patients are advised to wear shoes with enough room for their toes to lessen the pain. Women should avoid wearing high heels for at least 6 months after bunion surgery. The patients must also engage in regular exercises for strengthening the foot and lower leg, under the supervision of an expert.
What are the Risks Involved with Bunion Surgery?
Bunion surgery is accompanied with risks like occurrence of infection in the bone or soft tissue of the foot and some side effects that result from anesthesia or other medicines administered to control the swelling and pain from the bunion surgery. An upward or outward bend in the big toe and damage to the tendons, which pull the big toe upward or downward may also occur. Certain types of bunion surgery may make the big toe joint stiff, limit its movement and cause persistent swelling and pain. In case bone is removed during bunion surgery, it may result in a shortened big toe. The chances of contracting degenerative joint disease like avascular necrosis or arthritis increases after bunion surgery. Callus can also develop at the bottom of the foot as a result of bunion surgery. Bunion surgery may also cause nerve damage, which can bring about a decrease in sensation, numbness or burning in the toe.
The big toe points excessively towards the second toe when one has a bunion. The bunion is a foot deformity of both the soft tissue and bone. Bunion removal surgery is extremely successful. If you are planning to get your bunion removed, talk to your doctor about the measures, which you can take to ensure swift and correct healing of your foot post bunion surgery. Taking good care of the feet and refraining from wearing shoes with narrow toe boxes post bunion surgery will help to prevent future bunions effectively.