Bunionectomy - discharge; Hallux valgus correction - discharge
When You Were in the Hospital
You had surgery to repair a bunion. The surgeon made an incision (cut) in your skin to expose your big toe joint and bones. Your surgeon then repaired your deformed toe. You may have screws, wires, or a plate holding your toe joint together.
What to Expect at Home
You may have swelling in your foot. Keep your leg propped up on 1 or 2 pillows under your foot or calf muscle when you are sitting or lying down to reduce swelling. Swelling may last 9 - 12 months.
Keep the dressing around your incision clean and dry until it is removed. Take sponge baths or cover your foot and dressing with a plastic bag when you take showers. Make sure water cannot leak into the bag.
You will probably be asked to wear a surgical shoe or cast for up to 8 weeks. Using this special shoe or cast will keep your foot in the right position as it heals.
Your doctor will recommend a walker, cane, or crutches. You may begin to place some weight on your foot and walk short distances in the first 2 or 3 weeks after surgery. But check with your surgeon first.
You will need to do exercises that will strengthen the muscles around your ankle and keep your range of motion in your foot. Your doctor or a physical therapist will teach you these exercises.
When you start wearing shoes again, wear athletic shoes or soft leather shoes for 3 months or more after surgery. Make sure they have plenty of room in the toe box. Do NOT wear narrow shoes or high heels for at least 6 months, if at all.
Your doctor will give you a prescription for pain medicine. Get it filled when you go home so you have it when you need it. Take your pain medicine before you start having pain. Waiting too long to take it will allow your pain to get worse than it should.
Taking ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or another anti-inflammatory medicine may also help. Ask your doctor what other medicines are safe to take with your pain medicine.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your doctor or nurse if:
Your dressing becomes loose, comes off, or gets wet
You have fever or chills
Your foot around the incision is warm or red
Your incision is bleeding
Your pain does not go away after you take pain medicine
You have swelling, pain, and redness in your calf muscle
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. 10/31/10