How long do you have to stay on crutches after a bunion & hammertoe surgery?

Written by genevieve van wyden
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After you undergo surgery to have a hammertoe or bunion corrected or removed you should expect to stay off your foot for several days. Even though you'll be wearing an open-toed shoe or a surgical shoe, you need to give the foot time to recover so as to not cause additional deformity to the joint that was operated on.

Bunion Post-Surgery Instructions

Immediately after surgery, your foot is wrapped in sterile gauze, a self-adhering wrap, and a surgical shoe or boot. Orders from your doctor include staying off your feet, elevating your foot, putting ice on it and using crutches for the first several days--this specific direction may vary from surgeon to surgeon. Expect to be on crutches for the first week and a half to two weeks until the swelling and pain in your foot have gone down.

Visit your doctor three to five days after surgery for a bandage change and to ensure you are not developing an infection. Approximately 10 to 12 days after your surgery, your doctor will remove your stitches unless they are dissolving stitches. You can resume wearing regular shoes--with a wide toe box and no heel--approximately four to six weeks after surgery.

Hammertoe Post-Surgical Instructions

After your hammertoe surgery is completed, your foot is wrapped in sterile gauze, which stays on until your doctor removes the bandages for a bandage change. Expect to stay on crutches for several days--again, this can vary, depending on the individual surgeon's practice.

Stay off your foot and keep it elevated until the swelling has gone down and the pain has gone away. Put ice on your foot to reduce swelling and to help with the pain. Plan to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help reduce your pain during the first days after your surgery. After surgery, wear an open-toed shoe to accommodate your bandages and swelling. Don't force your foot into a closed-toe shoe.

Recovery Period

Your recovery can take up to six months even though you have returned to wearing regular shoes. Because the bones were cut, broken or manipulated surgically in order to correct their position, your foot will be swollen and tender for several months.

Expect to have your level of activity restricted for a period of time until your doctor has determined that your foot is recovering as it should.

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