Frequently asked questions about bunion surgery

By contactus
February 21, 2011
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Frequently asked questions about bunion surgery


So you are considering bunion surgery, but have heard a lot of rumors about the recovery, pain, and limitations after the procedure. What can you expect?


According to Foot and Ankle Surgeons Todd and Cherrie Cindric, DPM, FACFAS, your expectations should vary based on the severity of your condition. It is normal and natural after any surgery to have some pain, but bunion surgery is usually performed under sedation with local anesthetic. When you first wake up from the procedure, you will not have any pain. The local block in your foot will wear off in 6-8 hours, and can be controlled with oral pain medication. The majority of pain can be expected in the first 1-2 days, with significant improvement in symptoms over the following weeks.


There are basically three stages of bunion deformities, and this determines the severity of your condition and the nature of your surgical planning. For sake of discussion, we will categorize them as mild, moderate, and severe.


A mild bunion is categorized as a small bump on the inside of the foot, with little to no deviation of the toe. After x ray evaluation, there is noted to be minimal deviation of the first metatarsal bone out of its normal position. This can usually be corrected by removing the bump and tightening up the soft tissues. "Most bunions, by the time they are symptomatic, do not fall into this category," explains Dr. Cherrie Cindric. Weight bearing and return to normal activity occurs in 2-4 weeks after surgery, and therapy is usually not needed.


A moderate bunion is categorized as a medium sized bump on the inside of the foot, with mild to moderate deviation of the big toe. On x ray evaluation, there is noted to be an increase in the angle between two bones in your forefoot, which means to correct the problem, you need to have a cut made in the bone at the head of the bone for it to be positioned back to its anatomic location. This is held in place with a screw. You can walk on it immediately, but will be limited in this for the first 2 weeks. After that, you can progress to a regular shoe in 2-4 weeks. "The majority of surgically corrected bunions in this office are treated with this very versatile procedure, and have a great outcome," explains Dr. Todd Cindric, DPM, FACFAS.


A severe bunion is similar to the moderate bunion, but the correction that is necessary is much more involved. A bone cut needs to be made further back in the bone, or the joint needs to be fused, necessitating cast immobilization with no weight to the foot for 6 weeks to 3 months. Physical therapy is usually required after this for about a month.


Please be advised that the above are only guidelines, and that each surgical case is different. Please contact Dr. Cherrie or Dr. Todd Cindric at 724-832-1000 to schedule your consultation.