How Long Does it Take to Recover from Bunion Surgery?

In this season of emancipation and freedom, I didn’t want to pass over a story I recently read, that is apparently old news to my NYC podiatry patients.  It seems that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winning political activist from Myanmar, underwent corrective surgery for her bunions last December and had a somewhat eventful recovery which prevented her from standing for long periods at some political rallies.  This is according to the head of the National League for Democracy spokesman whose name is - I am not making this up - U Kyi Toe.  Seriously, read that name out loud.  Anyway, it’s a good opportunity to discuss recovery from bunion surgery.

As we have discussed before, bunion surgery is generally an outpatient procedure, performed under sedation with local anesthesia to numb the foot.  After surgery, the vast majority of patients are able to bear weight in a surgical shoe, which is usually worn for two weeks.  After two weeks, patients transition into a comfortable shoe such as a slipper or a wide sneaker.  It’s important to stop using the surgical shoe at this point, as the key to a fast recovery from foot surgery, or any orthopedic surgery, is early range of motion and limited immobilization.  At the six weeks post-op, most patients are able to wear their regular shoes and participate in regular activities.  However, it’s important to remember that at this point the foot is still healing.  The scar is remodeling and the swelling is resolving, which can take a long time; 4-6 months is a standard time frame.  This is the body’s natural method of healing.  The last stages of healing, the remodeling stages, are very slow, and it’s a drag for patients who are somewhat impatient.  But in time, the body will do what it knows how to do, and what it wants to do- heal.  We just have to wait and monitor the process.  In some cases, physical therapy can accelerate the healing process, but often it is just a matter of time.

So whether you are a Nobel Prize winning activist, or just a regular Joe in NYC, your body knows what to do.  Be patient with the healing, and be informed before surgery.  From Burma to the Bronx, your bunions will be better.

See you in the office.

Ernest Isaacson

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