Bunion removal - discharge

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.

Wound Care

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.

See also: Surgical wound care


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 go away after you take pain medicine
  • You have swelling, pain, and redness in your calf muscle

Alternate Names

Bunionectomy - discharge; Hallux valgus correction - discharge


Richardson EG. Disorders of the hallux. In: Canale ST, Beatty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 78.

Update Date: 10/30/2012

Updated by: 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


Notice: The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2012, A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.