You had surgery to repair a bunion. The surgeon made an incision (cut) in your skin to expose the bones and joint of your big toe. Your surgeon then repaired your deformed toe. You may have screws, wires, or a plate holding your toe joint together.
You may have swelling in your foot. Keep your leg propped up on 1 or 2 pillows under your foot or calf muscle when you are sitting or lying down to reduce swelling. Swelling may last 9 - 12 months.
Keep the dressing around your incision clean and dry until it is removed. Take sponge baths or cover your foot and dressing with a plastic bag when you take showers. Make sure water cannot leak into the bag.
You may need to wear a surgical shoe or cast for up to 8 weeks to keep your foot in the right position as it heals.
You will need to use a walker, cane, or crutches. Check with your surgeon before putting weight on your foot. You may be able to put some weight on your foot and walk short distances 2 or 3 weeks after surgery.
You will need to do exercises that will strengthen the muscles around your ankle and maintain the range of motion in your foot. Your doctor or a physical therapist will teach you these exercises.
When you are able to wear shoes again, wear only athletic shoes or soft leather shoes for at least 3 months. Choose shoes that have plenty of room in the toe box. Do not wear narrow shoes or high heels for at least 6 months, if ever.
Your doctor will give you a prescription for pain medicine. Get it filled when you go home so you have it when you need it. Take your pain medicine before you start having pain so that it doesn't get too bad.
Taking ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or another anti-inflammatory medicine may also help. Ask your doctor what other medicines are safe to take with your pain medicine.
Call your doctor or nurse if:
Bunionectomy - discharge; Hallux valgus correction - discharge
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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