A bunion develops because of a foot deformity known as a hallux valgus. This means that the big toe (hallux) turns outward (valgus). The bone that joins the big toe projects from the foot’s inner border. The bump that develops is made up of soft tissue and bone and is referred to as a bunion. Most bunions will not require surgery to be treated, but when surgery is necessary most patients are concerned about bunion recovery time.
Do You Need Bunion Surgery?
Surgery may be considered if other nonsurgical treatments fail. It is estimated that approximately 85 percent to 90 percent of bunion surgery patients are satisfied with the results. Bunion surgery may be a good idea for patients experiencing severe foot pain that negatively impacts their ability to complete everyday tasks, chronic swelling and inflammation of the big toe that is not improved with medications or rest, toe deformity, no pain relief from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and no improvement with other treatment methods.
Types of Bunion Surgery
There are several different types of bunion surgery. These include repairing the ligaments and tendons around the big toe, arthrodesis, resection arthroplasty, exostectomy, and osteotomy. Though these procedures have their own unique goals they do have some goals in common including relieving pain, realigning the joint, and correcting deformity.
Possible Complications of Bunion Surgery
Complications are experienced by less than ten percent of patients. However, patients should still be aware of the potential complications. They include infection, nerve damage, recurrence of the bunion, and continued pain. These complications are treatable, but they may affect the extent of the patient’s full recovery. They can also add time to the patient’s bunion surgery recovery.
Recovering from Bunion Surgery
The average bunion recovery time ranges from six weeks to six months depending on how much bone and soft tissue are affected. Complete recovery can take a year. To help speed up the recovery process patients should make sure the foot and any stitches are kept dry, clean, and covered. Stitches will be taken out after seven to 21 days. If any pins are sticking out of the foot they will be removed in about three to four weeks, but it could take up to six weeks for them to be ready to be removed. Patients may need to use walking casts, wooden shoes, or special shows for up to 12 weeks after surgery. Patients will not be able to put weight on their foot for up to eight weeks after some bunion surgeries. This is followed by several weeks in which they will only be able to bear partial weight.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Retrieved on March 31, 2010 from The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00140
WebMD. (2008). Bunion Surgery. Retrieved on March 31, 2010 from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/bunion-surgery
Bunion: Cyberprout – Wikimedia Commons