Your doctor has recommended surgery to correct the bone and muscle problems in your toe caused by a bunion. This foot surgery has become a common way to reduce this painful condition, when non-invasive treatments aren't working. Here is what you can expect before, during and after your bunion surgery.
Why Your Doctor May Recommend Surgery
Your bunion is caused by the large bone in your big toe being out of alignment. This creates the painful bump at the base of the toe which can rub against your footwear, making walking difficult. The non-invasive treatments, including anti-inflammatory pain medication, braces and foot wraps, attempt to reduce the pain and return the toe joint to its normal function. When these don't work, surgery is the last resort.
There are several techniques used in bunion surgery and your doctor will have determined from x-rays which one will work best for you. During the surgery, bone may be removed and tendons may be moved to create a more natural joint alignment. The goal of each of the techniques is to reduce your pain, correct the toe deformity and realign your toe joint.
The Day Before The Surgery
This surgery is done in the doctor's office or in an outpatient clinic. Ask a friend or family member to take you to your appointment and back home after the procedure.
Eat a light meal the night before the surgery so you'll be less queasy during the procedure. If you tend to become anxious about outpatient surgery, ask your doctor for something you can take before going to the clinic to help calm you.
The Day Of The Surgery
Your doctor will ask you to be at the clinic a couple of hours before your surgery. An anesthesiologist will talk with you and determine the best anesthesia to use. The surgery is often done with only your ankle and foot being numb, while you remain awake and conscious. The anesthesiologist will stay with you during the surgery. They can give you additional medication should you become anxious or feel any pain during the procedure.
When the surgeon is ready to begin, you'll be made comfortable on an outpatient surgical table. The anesthesiologist will numb your foot and ankle and shortly after, your doctor can begin the surgery. During the surgery, you'll feel no pain in your foot. You'll have the sensation of pressure and may feel a little warmth. The equipment your doctor uses will make a low humming sound and you'll feel a vibration.
The surgery itself takes only a few minutes. Your doctor will wrap your foot in a bandage and you'll be taken to the recovery area. The staff will watch you in recovery to make sure the incision in your foot is not draining. As your foot regains feeling, they will give you some pain medication. Your doctor will give you a prescription for pain medication to take home with you. Expect to be in recovery for a couple of hours before your friend can take you home.
Recovering At Home
You will keep the bandage on your foot until your doctor has you come in to get the stitches removed, usually in a couple of weeks. You'll also come home from the surgery with a special shoe to wear that supports your foot and toes. The bandage and shoe keep your toe in correct alignment while the bone and tendons heal.
You'll use a cane, walker or crutches to walk so that you only put light pressure on your foot for a few days. Your doctor will tell you when you can put more weight on the foot. This depends on the particular procedure they used in the surgery. You'll also be able to drive within a few days of the surgery.
When you see the doctor to have the stitches and bandage removed, they will talk with you about the types of shoes you can wear. For the next few months, only wide-toe shoes, such as athletic shoes, can be worn to allow your toe to fully heal in the correct alignment.
If you have suffered pain from a bunion, this surgery will make walking enjoyable again. Your shoes will fit better and you won't have to deal with your toe rubbing against the shoe. When the non-invasive treatments don't work, this surgery will give you relief. For more information, contact a specialist like East Village Foot Center PC.