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What is Recovery from Bunion Surgery Like?


Bunions are more than just a cosmetic bump; they are complex 3D deformities of the foot caused by an unstable joint that has rotated out of alignment. Bunions can be mild, moderate, or severe, and they may cause everyday occurrences like fitting in your favorite shoes or standing on your feet for extended periods of time to be uncomfortable.

Bunion surgery is an outpatient procedure that enables pain relief by rotating the big toe back to its normal alignment, allowing the patient to walk easily and comfortably. Bunion surgery recovery, when following the surgeon’s post-op instructions, can be a fairly manageable process.

With Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction®, patients can typically get back to their feet rather quickly – usually putting weight on the operative foot in a boot within 3-10 days after the surgery.1,2

In general, patients are allowed to return to normal athletic shoes at 6 weeks after surgery and return to full activity at 4 months after surgery.1 However, high-impact activities should be resumed at a doctor’s discretion as individual recovery plans are unique to the individual. Giving the body time to heal is critical, as with any surgery, so any issues can be avoided.

The general Lapiplasty® Procedure recovery time is as follows, however, individual recovery times may vary and the post-surgery process should always be discussed with a doctor:

Immediate Postoperative Period (First Few Days):
– Rest and Elevate: Elevating your foot as much as possible to help reduce swelling is important to aiding in your recovery during the first few days.
– Managing the Pain: Your doctor may prescribe pain medication to manage any discomfort. Be sure to take this prescription as directed.
– Weight-Bearing Restrictions: Refrain from putting weight on the operated foot for a specific period of time advised by your doctor. Crutches or a special walking boot may be provided to help you move around without putting stress on the operative foot.

First Two Weeks Post-Op:
– Limited Weight-Bearing: During this time patients will typically transition from non-weight-bearing to partial weight-bearing.
– Dressing Changes: Keep the surgical site clean and dry (your doctor will provide you with instructions on how to care for your surgical site).
– Follow-Up Appointments: Be sure to attend follow-up appointments to monitor your healing progress.

3-6 Weeks Post-Op:
– Continued Weight-Bearing: Your doctor may allow you to progressively increase the amount of weight you put on the operated foot.
– Physical Therapy: If physical therapy is recommended, this may help improve your foot’s flexibility, strength, and overall function.
– Stitch Removal: If non-absorbable stitches were used, they may be removed at this time.

3-6 Months Post-Op:
– Physical Therapy: If physical therapy is recommended, continue with physical therapy exercises to help regain full range of motion and strength in the foot.
– Slowly Return to Normal Activities: If your doctor permits, regular activities (and wearing regular shoes!) may resume at this time.

6+ Months Post-Op:
– Full Recovery: You have reached an important milestone in your recovery and foot health journey! Per your doctor’s guidelines, you typically are now permitted to get back to all your regular activities.

When recovering from bunion surgery, it’s important to prioritize your foot health and the overall process of healing. Setting realistic expectations and goals after surgery, such as following your doctor’s instructions and pausing any activities that put stress on the foot, can help aid in your recovery process from the Lapiplasty® Procedure.

Learn more about the recovery process from the Lapiplasty® Procedure here:

Tips for preparing for bunion surgery

The ten steps below are a suggested guide that may help with bunion surgery prep:

  1. Consultation: Consult with a doctor or surgeon to discuss the specific procedure, medical history, and any appropriate evaluations (such as blood tests or X-rays).
  2. Medical Clearance: Your doctor may alter any current medications (to reduce bleeding risk) or prescribe preoperative medications as well as ensure any underlying medical conditions are under control.
  3. Communication: Make sure you have addressed all your questions and concerns with your surgeon. Ensure you understand the outcomes and risks associated with the procedure, as well as your individual recovery plan.
  4. Nutrition: In addition to following your surgeon’s dietary guidelines, stay hydrated and eat on the healthier side prior to surgery. This is so your body can heal itself as comfortably as possible. If you’re a smoker, consider quitting or decreasing your intake before surgery, since smoking may increase the risk of complications and elongate the healing process.
  5. Transportation and Assistance: If possible, arrange for a family member or friend to drive you to the hospital and back home, as well as stay with you during the first few days of your recovery to assist with any support you may need.
  6. Recovery Preparation: Prep your home so that you have a comfortable place to rest and recover. This may include pillows, blankets and entertainment. Be sure to purchase any postoperative supplies your surgeon recommended (such as bandages and ice packs).
  7. Medication Guidelines: You may be required to refrain from taking certain medications on the day of your surgery. Be sure to check in with your doctor for the proper management for your specific situation.
  8. Comfortable Clothing: It may be helpful to wear looser clothing that can be removed easily after the surgery, so you don’t accidentally irritate the incision site.
  9. Listen to Your Doctor: Make sure you follow all instructions provided by your doctor; their guidelines are in place to keep you safe and reduce any risks, so your experience is as comfortable and stress-free as possible.
  10. Stress Management: It is important to stay calm and relaxed before surgery. Some people find mindfulness techniques helpful.

Everyone’s procedure will be personalized to their unique situation, but thorough communication with your doctor from the beginning will help set you up for a smooth bunion surgery experience.

About the immediate post-surgery period

When bunions turn painful and interfere with your normal daily routine, it’s time to take a closer look and see if you need to have your bunion corrected. Some symptoms to watch out for include a bump on the side of your foot at the big toe joint (potentially accompanied by swelling), pain at the base of the big toe, and a sensation of pressure or limited movement of the big toe.

Since bunion surgery is an outpatient procedure, patients typically go home the same day once their vitals, pain levels, and anesthesia recovery are closely monitored in the post-anesthesia care unit for usually up to two hours after the surgery or when advised by their care team. Once deemed safe to leave (with the individual you have trusted to drive you), you’ll be discharged and ready to rest at home.

Post-surgery, your surgeon will dress your foot with sterile bandages and most likely a surgical shoe, cast, or splint to protect the incision from infection and provide proper support as your foot begins to heal. As for pain management, your doctor may prescribe pain medications to keep you comfortable. Your surgeon will continue to assess your pain levels and assist with your pain management if necessary. During those first few days after surgery your doctor may suggest methods to assist with swelling reduction. The use of ice packs as cold therapy can be an effective way to reduce swelling and ease discomfort but always follow your surgeon’s guidance.

Your surgeon might also suggest methods to help with blood circulation, swelling, and the risk of blood clots. While your non-surgical leg should be moved around to also continue circulation and prevent blood clots, the operated foot will need to stay elevated and still to help drain excess fluids and prevent swelling. Any pain management techniques should be approved by your surgeon beforehand – even icing and compression techniques. They will give you specific recommendations based on your personalized surgery and overall health and recovery needs. Your prescribed pain management and proper wound care are just as crucial for a successful recovery after your bunion surgery, so be sure to follow all instructions from your doctor or surgeon.

The days and weeks after surgery

While everyone’s specific bunion surgery and recovery process is unique to them, patients who have the Lapiplasty® Procedure may begin partial weight-bearing in less than two weeks with the assistance of a surgical boot.1,2 At 6-8 weeks, patients may gradually transition back into comfortable shoes at the guidance of their surgeon.1

Most surgeons may recommend physical therapy (such as gentle stretching, resistance exercises, and mobility drills) to help improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the operated foot. Remember to not push too hard when getting back into exercising, and always consult with your surgeon so they can assess your progress, advise on the appropriate activity levels for your recovery process, and get you back on an active plan that is safe for your recovery.

Tips for speedy recovery from bunion surgery

There are quite a few things you can do to engage in the recovery process after bunion surgery. Be sure to attend all follow-up visits with your surgeon, so they can assess your progress and provide guidance on resuming physical activities. Your surgeon may advise you to not put any weight on the operated foot during those first few weeks and provide you with instructions on the certain types of gentle movements you may be allowed to perform.

Your surgeon may allow you to gradually bear weight and increase that weight, or suggest physical therapy to help with improving your strength – however, this is dependent on your personal recovery plan as outlined by you and your surgeon. Always keep communication with your doctor open, and reach out to them if you need clarification on what you can and can’t do regarding workout intensity, proper footwear, and weight-bearing levels.

Caring for the area that was operated on is important when preventing infections and promoting healing, with a focus on keeping the surgical wound dry and clean post-surgery. Your surgeon will educate you on proper protocol and what to expect at home when it comes to hand washing, changing your dressing, cleaning the skin around the wound, and looking out for signs of infection. If you are unsure of how to clean or care for your wound during this very important recovery period, then call your surgeon or medical team for assistance as soon as possible.

Conclusion: Life after bunion surgery, long-term follow-ups, and continuous monitoring

Once the bunion surgery is behind you, maintaining follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider is key, so they can continue to monitor your recovery progress and give guidance on physical activity or any other questions you might have.

With Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction®, the relief from bunion pain may help you get back to an active lifestyle.

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As a medical device manufacturer, Treace Medical Concepts, Inc. cannot provide any opinions or other medical advice to patients. For medical advice please contact your doctor.