If you have tried everything else and a bunion hurts too much for you to live your best life then it’s time for surgery. The only way to correct your bunion deformity is to have surgery; and these days the correct surgery for almost all bunions is the Lapidus procedure. Stop accommodating and start correcting the problem.
Recovery after bunionectomy is gradual. The first few days are the worst; most patients require oral pain medications. When you wake up from surgery your foot is in a splint. Your podiatrist will switch the splint out for a boot after 10 days (about 1 and a half weeks). The earliest you can expect to return to shoes is 4 weeks. By eight weeks most patients are wearing Brook’s type marathon tennis shoes. After twelve weeks you can start wearing heels that are 1 in or less. After 12 months you can return to heels up to 3 in. You should avoid heels higher than 3 in permanently or you risk a recurrence of the bunion.
The Lapidus bunionectomy surgery is safe and effective. The most common complication is persistent pain. The bigger the deformity the bigger the surgery, so do not wait so long before having surgery that you cannot be entirely corrected. During surgery your joint is fused, so naturally there is the possibility that the fusion will not take, and less than 6% of bunions corrected with the Lapidus procedure recur. Prior to the Lapidus procedure recurrence was reported above 30% in series. In the unlikely event a bunion does recur and is painful then another surgery is needed.
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It is time to have bunion correction surgery after you have tried everything else, and the bunion still hurts too much for you to live your best life. Bunion deformity is a common cause of foot pain which limits what you can do every day. Having a bunion is like having faulty vision: you can make do by wearing glasses but wearing glasses does not correct your vision. The difference is that vision problems do not hurt. The only way to correct your bunion deformity is to have surgery. If the bunion is limiting your ability to live your life, and you have tried everything else, then it is time to stop accommodating and start correcting the problem. That is when it is time to have bunion correction surgery.
If you have a bunion, when is it time to have bunion correction surgery?
The Lapidus bunionectomy and fusion is the correct way to correct deformity and relieve foot pain due to bunions in almost every case. The use of the Lapidus procedure has reduced the risk of recurrence from 30% and up to less than 6%. Surgery takes 60-90 minutes (about 1 and a half hours). A general anesthetic is used but the procedure is outpatient, so that hospitalization is not needed. A splint is placed at the end of the procedure, which is removed after 10 days (about 1 and a half weeks), at which time the sutures are removed as well. Your foot is then placed in a boot, and you begin physical therapy. Full healing and normal shoes take 10 – -12 weeks (about 3 months).
What is the best approach for bunion surgery?
How much pain should patients expect after bunion reconstruction surgery?
What are the risks of bunion reconstruction surgery?
It takes 12 weeks (about 3 months) after bunion surgery before you can walk with no pain; however, the worst pain is limited to the first 3 days, and most of the pain is gone after 10. Walking without pain after bunion surgery happens in the three stages. For the first 72 hours (about 3 days) the surgical pain is real, and you will take medications to keep comfortable. From 72 hours (about 3 days) up to ten days you are still in a splint; walking is moderately painful and awkward. Once your reach the ten-day mark things start getting better fast. After the splint is taken down and your doctor removes your stitches your foot is then placed in a walking boot. That is the point you will notice that the bump you had in your foot, the deformity, is gone. Your foot will feel straighter and more normal than it has in years. And you will start physical therapy. The pain level during this stage (after 3 weeks) is like the back end of a roller coaster, it declines consistently from week 3 to week 12 until you are back to shoes, with a normal shaped foot, and pain free.
How long after bunion correction does it take to walk without pain?