Pain After Bunion Surgery

We see patients routinely who have had recent bunion surgery but are still having substantial pain, swelling and stiffness in the first 12 months following surgery.

In a lot of cases we discover that the patients were not provided sufficient guideline on how to care for their foot in the first year after they come out of the walking boot they wore after surgery. With proper instruction on what shoes and arch supports to use because first year most of these patients would have considerably less pain.

Pain After Bunion Surgery

Much of these people are confused regarding why they are still having pain when their expectation had been that surgery would relieve their pain. The info below will help numerous bunion surgery patients remove their pain.

There are, nevertheless, other causes of pain after surgery and we highly recommend you get a viewpoint from your cosmetic surgeon (and second opinions) if you are still having pain.

Why the First Year After Bunion Surgery is So Important

  • It takes control of a year for a bunion surgery site to heal completely. The cellular work of bone repair work takes a minimum of a year. This doesn’t imply that the bone is weaker than normal or you are significantly restricted in activity during the majority of that time, but the foot is prone to pain and swelling during that entire time unless the foot is well safeguarded.
  • Bunion surgery does not remove the forces that caused the bunion in the first location. Unless the unusual forces that triggered the bunion in the first place are attended to with appropriate orthotics and shoes, those forces will still act to damage the joint after surgery.
  • Feet are under more stress than other body parts. The reality is that feet have more pain after surgery because feet have more force going through them. Every step you take puts approximately 4 times your body weight through your foot. Thus it becomes vital to secure the foot for the whole year following surgery.

Why Surgery Doesn’t Eliminate the Forces that Cause Bunions

Bunions are brought on by excessive compression in the huge toe joint. The video below describes huge toe joint function consisting of how bunions are formed and how to prevent the damaging forces that exist both prior to and after surgery.

In order to remove the forces that cause pain after surgery (and can likewise result in a return of the bunion) you need to significantly reduce the forces that go through that huge toe joint.

What should you perform in the first year after bunion surgery?

We recommend the following to our patients for the first 12 months after coming out of their walking boot post bunion surgery.

General Recommendations Post Bunionectomy:

  • Don’t go barefoot at all. Ever. Even at home. For at least the first 12 months after you come out of your walking boot you should use shoes or encouraging sandals at all times when you are bearing weight. Constantly be wearing either shoes with arch supports or shoes with built-in arch assistance
  • Use arch supports or custom-made orthotics 100% the time. Use good customized orthotics or arch supports in every set of shoes. Effectively made custom orthotics will help to decrease harmful forces in the big toe joint and enhance motion of the joint. A good OTC arch support will likewise help, although not along with a proper custom orthotic.
  • If you are having pain even with the orthotics or arch supports then use rocker soled shoes. Rocker soles will limit motion in the joint and thus reduce trauma to the joint. You may not need to use rockers all of the time and in reality you will frequently want to encourage motion in the huge toe joint. However rocker shoes can help decrease force in the joint during the recovery duration if you are still having pain.

See also: Recovery from Bunion Surgery

The above info can assist if you are having pain after bunion surgery, however our first objective is to assist you avoid bunion surgery.


Last modified: April 4, 2017

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