Bunion surgery is an option for people who have significant pain in their bunions and also have a problem walking comfortably in shoes with their bunions. I do not recommend surgery for bunions that are not causing pain (cosmetic reasons). Although unsightly, bunions that do not hurt should be addressed with conservative measures (padding, strapping, orthotic devices, change in shoegear).
For people who choose to have their bunion surgically corrected, there are several factors to consider:
- Which foot? Patients need to be aware that if they have a surgical procedure on their right foot they may be unable to drive for several weeks or even months following a procedure (how long depends on how big/severe the bunion is and what procedure is performed).
- Can we do both at the same time? In general, my answer is a resounding “no”. I like my patients to have at least one “good foot” at a time to stabilize yourself while you are healing.
- Work Considerations – how long will I be off? This depends on the procedure performed, but generally 2-4 weeks off of work is ideal for a typical bunion.
- Can I walk on it? – This also depends on the procedure, with a typical bunion, yes, you would be walking with a post operative shoe for 2-4 weeks, transition to a tennis type shoe for another 2-4 weeks and then begin wearing other shoes.
- Swelling is a major factor and patients should be aware that it can take up to six months for swelling to go down (this is because your foot is the furthest away from your heart and as it is in dependency most of the time, blood tends to pool in your feet!)
- Post operative considerations – most people will require a corrective device like an orthotic in their tennis shoes to further address their mechanics after surgery. Shoe gear with a wider toebox should also be considered.
- Pain? Most patients will have pain following any procedure. We try our best to manage this pain by using anesthetic medication in the operating room along with pain medication and anti-inflammatory medication post operatively.
There are a lot of things to think about when considering bunion surgery. If you have questions, please contact Dr. Lockwood at Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates at 309-661-9975 or www.heartlandfootandankle.com.