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post-bunionectomy recovery


Dear Doctor,
I recently had a bunionectomy, where the big toe was broken, realigned and a permanent pin put in place. I am now 10 days into my recovery and still find the foot too tender to put much weight on it.
I am in a post-surgical “boot” and although my doctor said I would probably be able to walk on the heal of the boot to get around, I am finding it too painful without crutches.
Is this unusual or am I just not tolerating the pain well?
When might it be a reasonable expectation where I should be able to bear weight and ditch the crutches. I do use my heal to balance and I am trying to apply some weight.
Thanks for your imput, I appreciate it.


  1. : Jen : hemi3781@aolI had a bunionectomy (McBride and Chevron) in late December, 2003. My progress has been quite good. For the first week, I had the foot elevated and iced as much as humanly possible. I used a walker to go to the bathroom (I’m a klutz and wasn’t good on crutches). I took Percocet and Bextra and experienced little pain. The second week, I made short trips to the kitchen and bathroom without the walker by balancing on either the heel of the casted foot or the outside edge. I made several trips to the outside world with the walker. During the second week, I only took over-the-counter Advil. Two weeks after surgery, the stitches were removed and I got a clumsy walking boot. The boot is awkward, but it lets other people know that you need some special consideration. At that time, I was able to resume most of my normal routine. Expect the foot to “talk back to you” as you walk on it. At week six, I had my final check-up and now have no restrictions. I’m back to brisk exercise walking. I have some remaining stiffness, swelling, and discomfort. This will likely continue for several months. My advice is to think positively and elevate and ice your foot as much as possible. This reduces swelling and pain. I had a good experience — I’m looking forward to a lifetime of better walking!

  2. I had a bunionectomy in mid-July 2003. I followed exactly what the doctor told me for recovery. My foot was propped up almost at all times. After my stiches were removed he (the doctor) told me to feel free to put on cream/lotion on the wound so that the incision could begin to heal. My husband was present when he told me about the cream. The incision soon began to reopen. The doctor claimed that he never said anything about the cream. He stary stripped the wound. The foot now works. If can fit into shoes. I no longer wear pointed shoes period. However, the wound still looks quite ugly. My brother says that I should see a lawyer. The doctor’s attitude in October was it works and scar will heal soon. What should a scar look like at this time frame? My scar is still purplish and has a swollen look to it.

  3. I am Shedualed to have a bilateral Bunionectomy Feb. 27 2004 I am mortified. I really don’t know what to expect The Dr Has been great but has not experienced himself. Is there anyone that can help me to understand this!!??Jen hemi3781@aol

  4. I am asking the same question. I recently had a bilateral bunionectomy with osteotomy and two hammer toes corrected. I have a hard cast. I was xrayed at 10 days and 25 days. I used a wheelchair for the first 25 days. At day 25 the doctor has allowed me to walk or use crutches. The hard foot cast has not yet been removed. It is uncomfortable to walk right now. My feet feel a little sore.

  5. Just thought I’d chime in. I’m 16 days post procedure. Had a similar surgery it sounds-had arthritis removed too. Was not allowed to bear weight at all for one week. I started to do some minimal weight bearing on the 8th day, and after about 11 days, was given the okay to only use one crutch (or cane), although my dr does not want me to drive until this upcoming week. (it’s the right foot)I’m taking Bextra and Tylenol as needed. I was prescribed Percocet, but I don’t want to take narcotics, so I did not fill the prescription. I am getting around okay, but it is very sore. And last week, my foot started having nightly episodes of pain that wakes me. It just plain hurts like heck in the middle of night, and the Bextra and Tylenol do nothing to relieve it. But narcotic pain relievers make me sick, so I will deal with the pain. This higher level of pain didn’t start until a week and a half after the procedure, about 6 days ago, right after my last appointment. I am using ice once or twice a day, although I didn’t last night. I need to go do that now in fact. I’m sorry that your doctor seems to have made a statement that makes you feel as if you somehow shouldn’t be in pain still. My dr has said that he’s had people who have stayed home from work for several weeks. My goodness-you have a fractured toe that had surgery!! Some people have higher pain thresholds. Even though I can walk around now, it is by no means comfortable, and as I have said, I am still having severe pain. and I will be reporting that to my dr on my Tuesday check-up.

  6. Dr. Abrams,
    Thank you for your quick response to my question. I am feeling a bit impatient, as I will be coming up to the 2 week mark on Monday. I guess my frustration is that according to my doctor, “many people feel very little discomfort and get around quite well” doesn’t appear to pertain to me. I’m not taking many pain med’s and perhaps I should (at least Tylenol). Then, I may be less uncomfortable. I don’t seeing me “ditching” the crutches still for awhile, but I hope in the near future to start trying to get around on one. I will be getting my stitches out in three day so I will be interested in seeing just where my doctors expectations are at that point. I’ll let you know. Thanks again for your quick reply.

  7. I really can’t tell you exactly what should be happening to you since I do not know alot about you and what surgery was performed. Your surgeon should be the one to discuss this with you. After having said that, I can tell you that patients all vary in their responses to post operative pain. Make no mistake about it, foot surgery is uncomfortable. I tell my patients to do what they need to to be comfortable, short of remaining bedridden. I also like to tell them it will get better , just not as fast as you would like or how it does on TV shows.Good luck.