What Can I Expect After My Bunion Treatment?

Aug 18, 2022

So, you’ve decided to seek bunion treatment. Great news! You’ve come to the right place! Here, we are going to break down what a bunion is, how it might be affecting your feet, the two different types of bunion surgical treatments that we offer, and what you can expect from each treatment. 

What is a Bunion?

First, if you aren’t familiar with what a bunion is, let’s talk about bunions and how they may affect your feet. A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. The bunion forces the tip of your big toe to be pulled toward the smaller toes and causes the joint at the base of your big toe to stick out further than it should. 

Interestingly bunions are more common in women than in men, and 70% of people who develop bunions have a family history of them. This suggests that there may be a large genetic component when it comes to developing bunions. 

What Causes Bunions? 

Bunions are known to be caused by wearing tight shoes, being subject to foot stress, and arthritis. A bunion doesn’t happen overnight but rather forms slowly over time, eventually getting bigger and sticking out farther to the side.

Common Symptoms

When you are dealing with symptoms of a bunion, the main symptoms you will notice include bone deformity, pain, and stiffness. Without treatment, these symptoms can worsen over time and make walking painful.

Woman with bunion needing bunion treatment

Bunion Treatment 

Bunion pain can be treated without surgery. Using simple treatments to reduce pressure on the big toe like wearing wider shoes with adequate toe room can help relieve pain and discomfort, or wearing custom orthotics to take the pressure off the bunion. 

Sometimes bunion pain can be very severe, requiring surgical removal. If you have never seen a doctor to talk about your options, please do not wait any longer. Our doctor is more than happy to discuss your situation! There are two types of surgical treatment that we offer to help improve your quality of life by removing your bunion. Those two treatments are Lapiplasty surgery and miniBunion surgery.

Lapiplasty Bunion Surgery

We understand the thought of surgery may put some people off, but the benefits can be unmatched! Surgical methods and technology are evolving all the time, and we are proud to provide one of the latest here at our practice: Lapiplasty 3D Bunion Correction. 

Lapiplasty completely rethinks bunion surgery by actually taking the joint instability into account. In some procedures, the “bump” of a bunion is simply shaved off. This procedure helps to reduce the appearance of a bunion, as well as its likelihood of becoming irritated against the inside of shoes. However, it does not address the actual root of the problem which is the instability of the joint on your big toe. Shaving the bunion off could provide you with short-term relief. 

However, Lapiplasty Bunion Correction is shown to have better results by providing a high level of stabilization that is much more likely to keep the joint from shifting again. In the Lapiplasty Procedure, the unstable bone is rotated back into its correct position. Once the joint is in place; two small, anatomically shaped titanium plates are secured against the joint. These plates support the joint from multiple angles to keep the joint from shifting again.

Post-Lapiplasty Recovery

Expect your procedure to last around an hour. The time following your surgery is when your recovery begins. 

One of the most significant benefits of Lapiplasty surgery is the quick recovery time. Recovery from Lapiplasty is typically faster than many other forms of bunion surgery. Since there is no casting required with this surgery, you should be able to bear weight on the foot within just a few days! Patients who have this procedure will be in a walking boot for six to eight weeks after surgery, then you can expect to be back in your normal shoes! 

You should plan to take it easy until you are back in your shoes. There may be other potential factors that can affect your healing expectations.

Is Physical Therapy Needed Post-Lapiplasty?

In most cases, no. Some patients do require physical therapy but, most patients don’t. It depends if the great toe joint is stiff after surgery, which in most cases, it is not. Many patients can perform at-home range of motion exercises to the joint on their own without the help of a specialist. 

When Can I Return to Work?

It is recommended that you stay away from work for at least two weeks post-surgery. This gives time to allow the swelling to go down and post-operative pain to be reduced. Also, pain medication will be required immediately after surgery and it is not recommended that you take these medications while you are working. 

Unfortunately, if you have a job that requires you to be walking for prolonged amounts of time, a full eight weeks away from work could be necessary, sometimes even longer if extremely vigorous activity is required for your job.

Foot bandaged after bunion treatment

miniBunion Bunion Surgery

Our miniBunion procedure is a great option that is particularly for mild to moderate cases where speedy recovery is your top priority. Instead of a large open incision on the top of the foot, the miniBunion procedure only requires a small (approximately 1.5 cm) incision made along the side of the foot. 

With this procedure, your misaligned metatarsal bone is smoothly cut and repositioned. Then, a specially designed micro-titanium implant is placed into the long part of the metatarsal, closer to the heel. We secure the implant to the repositioned metatarsal head after it’s been rotated into the correct alignment. The incision is then closed. 

This is a major improvement from how this procedure was done in the past. Before, a large incision was made at the top of the foot, resulting in an unsightly scar. The miniBunion procedure is far more cosmetically pleasing and has a faster recovery time than traditional methods. 

miniBunion Recovery 

One of the biggest benefits of miniBunion treatment is the recovery time. With miniBunion surgery, we do not have to open up the joint. This significantly reduces the need for physical therapy. 

The immediate stability provided by the specially designed implant can get you back into normal shoes within 4-6 weeks. Also, due to the minimal incisions, miniBunion operations have a lower risk of causing extra damage to your body (skin, nerves, other tissues). That means the miniBunion is much less painful than traditional surgeries and requires a much shorter recovery time. 

Walking Recovery 

With the miniBunion procedure, many patients walk again immediately in a special postoperative walking shoe. The pain from recovery depends greatly on the pain tolerance of the patient. Our patients rarely need pain medication of any significance. 

Crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair can be provided, but most of our patients do not need them because you can place weight on the foot immediately following surgery while utilizing the postoperative walking shoe. 

When Can I Return to Work?

Expect to be able to return to work within just a couple of weeks following your miniBunion treatment. Depending on your pain tolerance level, you should be able to return to work without missing much time at all. 

If your work requires long periods of walking, you may be forced to miss more time. However, expect much shorter recovery times with this minimally invasive method. 

Following Up With Dr. Elenburg

Follow-up appointments will be necessary after your treatment. Our doctor will need to monitor the incision, your dressings will need to be changed, and follow-up X-rays will be taken.

Following your procedure, it is important to remain in contact with Dr. Elenburg. Do not hesitate to reach out if you notice any complications arise, or if anything does not seem right following your procedure. Our doctor will be able to diagnose and devise a plan of action to improve your condition. 

Are You Ready to Find Relief from Bunion Pain?

Regardless of your circumstances, it’s always best to contact us as early as possible about a bunion—even before you start experiencing pain. The sooner you seek help, the more options (including non-surgical) you will typically have available to find relief.

Start your path to being pain-free by calling our office today at (405) 418-2676, or by requesting an appointment online. Don’t put off bunion pain any longer!

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Oklahoma City, OK 73114

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