When the time comes to take care of foot bunions and toe corns through surgery, it’s best to be thoroughly informed. For starters, how much pain can be expected? Recovery from post-operative bunion surgery varies from patient to patient and even foot surgeon to foot surgeon. The truth is, a patient’s threshold for pain and even perception of pain will range from mild to severe. Additionally, the podiatrist’s finesse with the soft tissue and bony structure will have a great impact on post-op foot surgery recovery. Furthermore, factors like smoking and not following instructions will play an important role in each patient’s recuperation.
If you do a little research or cyber-sleuthing, horror stories about bunion-removal surgery will certainly surface. Unlike urban tales, however, these stories are probably true--but remember, they’re not consistent with every foot surgeon or patient. A podiatry practice like Fix Your Feet strictly focuses on the repair of foot bunions and hammertoes; it’s our specialty all year long. Having a foot surgeon in the operating room multiple times per week performing several bunions, hammertoes and cosmetic foot surgery procedures per week results inthe type of positive feedback from patients below:
- Recovery is not as bad as the patient was expecting.
- Day three and four is when the patient experiences the most pain because this is when the local anesthesia has completely worn off.
- The pain is minimal because the medication prescribed typically covers the pain when the local anesthesia has worn off.
- Most patients do not finish all of their prescription regardless of the amount of foot procedures performed such as: both foot bunions and one toe corn; one bunion removed or a few toes at a time.
So what is a typical postoperative period? For Fix Your Feet patients it goes as follows:
- After the foot surgery is performed, the foot is placed in a cushioned-compressive bandage. The patient is given a postoperative shoe which must be worn when walking even if it’s just to the bathroom.
- For the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery, the patient is restricted to complete bed rest with the foot/feet elevated above the heart. After 24 to 48 hours the patient must walk and move around to promote blood circulation which is vital to optimal healing.
- The bandages that are placed on the foot must remain clean, dry and intact until the first postoperative visit, which is usually 12 to 14 days from the date of foot surgery. The patient keeps the foot bandage clean, dry and intact when taking showers with a waterproof foot cast protective cover.
- The patient returns to see the podiatrist to have the bandages and stitches removed. X-rays are also taken, and typically the patient returns to sneaker-type shoes or any other type ofcomfortable shoe the patient can tolerate. Many patients prefer getting a slightly larger size shoe to accommodate foot swelling and tenderness. The return to normal shoes varies from patient to patient but it’s common to still have some residual swelling even four months after the foot surgery procedure.
For optimum foot-surgery success and to ensure a tolerable experience it’s best to research every perspective foot surgeon. What to look for: Find out if they have a certificate of surgical training. Inquire, how many of these types of cases the podiatrist performs weekly and monthly. Look to see if they have a large cache of photos of ``before and after’’ results. Equally important: don’t be fooled by fast and footloose procedures such as Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) foot surgery; these are not always the best options. Sure, they sound good on paper and may appear to result in less pain; but this is simply not the case. The pain and recovery for MIS procedures is the same as traditional approaches, but in the long term they don’t stand the test of time.
The bottom line is: by doing the necessary research you become an informed patient and can make you postoperative foot-surgery recovery easier and speedier and guarantee positive long-term results.