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Recovery following Bunion Surgery

Our aim is to get you back on your feet and back to work as soon as possible.

Our podiatric specialist Mr Hargrave has been correcting bunions for over 20 years, he has performed over 12,000 foot procedures over this period. Bunion surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures in our practice and our success rate is over 93% total satisfaction.

Immediately After Surgery

If you have had a general anaesthetic or sedation, you will need to rest at the hospital and wait for the effects of the anaesthetic to wear off. Some patients suffer with mild nausea and you may feel drowsy for a few hours. A general anaesthetic can also affect your coordination and reasoning skills for a short period. We advise you not to drink alcohol, sign legal documents or operate machinery for 48 hours afterwards.

Some of our patients choose to have surgery under a local anaesthetic. Following a local anaesthetic you will be asked to relax in the recovery room and after an hour or so, and a cup of tea/coffee and biscuits, you will be allowed to leave with an escort/carer. Your foot will have been heavily bandaged to protect it. Sometimes a small slipper-cast may also be applied. When you feel comfortable you will be allowed to go home. You should have made arrangements to be picked up from the hospital/clinic and have help and support at home for at least 72 hours after surgery. If you are having both bunions corrected at the same time under general anaesthetic, you will be kept in hospital for one night to ensure that you are comfortable. You will be given strong pain-killers to take to home. If you have a general anaesthetic or sedation, you will also be given antibiotics intravenously during the procedure. If you are having surgery under a local anaesthetic (awake surgery), you will be given antibiotic tablets to take home.

You will also be given crutches and a special shoe to wear. You can order a "Limbo" waterproof dressing protector before the surgery so that you can bathe normally until the stitches are removed at two weeks (we also use dissolvable sutures in our practice). Click here for information.

It is important that the bandages are kept clean and dry until we see you after one week. We will discuss with you how best to look after yourself over the following weeks.

Pain after surgery

recovering from bunion surgery

From our studies 93% of patients have mild or tolerable pain for 24-72 hours after surgery. This due to advancements in technique, pain-relief and most importantly the pioneering of specialist ultrasound-guided local anaesthetic blocks, which drastically reduce severe post-operative pain. These blocks are used on all our patients and are considered the gold standard for foot surgery and post-op pain-relief.


Walking after surgery

For the first week you will use crutches and should keep the weight-bearing mainly on the heel. During the first week, the more you rest the better as this reduces pain and swelling and therefore reduces the chance of a wound complication.

In our practice we will put you into a walker-boot at the first appointment after 7-days, when the wound is also inspected. A lighter, smaller dressing is then applied. You can now FULLY weight-bear on the operated foot and you can stop using your crutches once you have recovered your balance. You may take off the boot at night and for bathing and to perform your joint exercises.

General guide to healing and recovery

Excepting complications, you can start to come out of the boot at week 4 and you may also start driving at this point, however to be safe you need to be able to carry out an emergency stop.

Many patients can return to work after as little as 2-weeks providing you wear the protective boot, shown below, and providing you are able to rest at work and not lift heavy loads. After 4-weeks, we recommend wearing a trainer/sneakers/Ugg boots etc to accommodate the swelling; then roomy shoes and once all of the swelling has subsided (3-6 months), court/fashion shoes may be worn.


Recovery varies from patient to patient depending on their own response to surgery and the type of procedure they have had. Therefore this is a general guide only and your surgeon will discuss what's right for you.

Most of our patients are happy to perform their own exercises after surgery but some may require physiotherapy especially if the joint is stiff after surgery.

Advice Regarding Sports

Barring any healing complications, we recommend swimming after 4-weeks. After 6-weeks you can use the cross-trainer, rowing machine or cycle at the gym.

After 10-weeks you can commence gentle jogging and build up to running thereafter. You will still have some residual swelling which may persist for 3-6-months. We are happy to see you at any stage if you have any concerns.

Our aims at the Harley Street Foot and Ankle Centre

Research shows that if we can eradicate the bunion deformity (thus narrowing the forefoot), remove the bunion joint pain and give you a greater range of footwear options, then you will be a happy bunny; so that is our aim for you...

Our patients travel from all around the world for their bunion surgery, including Canada and the USA, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, France, Holland, Spain, Malta, India, Switzerland, Egypt, Angola, Kuwait, Dubai and the UAE. We will help you with your travel plans and accommodation, although our hospital offers boutique-style luxury accommodation and great food. The BMI Weymouth Hospital off Harley Street is fully covered for all the Health Care Insurance providers. We will ensure that your experience is as relaxed and comfortable as possible. We have a highly experienced team who are always on hand to help, advise and ensure your visits to us are stress-free. Taken from the BMI Weymouth Hospital patient satisfaction survey: "We are proud to report that 99.9% of our patients tell us the overall quality of their care was good, very good or excellent."

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