Bunionette correction surgery is done as an outpatient. You may have a general anesthetic, or an ankle block can be done. If both feet have bunionettes they can be corrected at the same time, or they can be done singly. Most people choose to have both sides corrected at the same setting so they only have one anesthetic, and only one recovery period. I routinely allow you to walk with all of your weight on the operated foot, so it is possible to have both sides done and still be able to get around. Some patients have other forefoot problems, such as bunions, hammertoes or Morton’s Neuroma that can also be treated at the same time.
Day of Surgery
At the end of the surgical procedure the wound is covered and the foot is wrapped with a dressing that is securely taped into place. That dressing gives support to the foot, acting like a cast to hold it securely. That dressing should be left in place until I change it at the first post-operative office visit.
You will be given a post-operative shoe at the surgery center, and you may put all of your weight on the foot if you have that shoe on. You must not walk on the operated foot unless you are wearing the post-operative shoe. Some people sleep with the shoe on for the first few days after surgery because it gives them a sense of more security, but you do not have to keep it on unless you are walking. If the dressing gets wet or there is a problem with it, please call the office so I can remove it myself.
Dealing with post-operative pain will be your major concern for the first few days. Try to keep your foot elevated to minimize swelling.
The first post-operative visit is usually 7 – 10 days after surgery. At that time I will remove the dressings, wash your foot, and generally take out the skin stitches.
After the skin stitches have been removed you can shower or bathe your foot, then towel it dry and put a clean sock over it. You will continue to use the post-operative shoe until 2 - 4 weeks have passed after the surgery. You can go into a regular shoe when it feels comfortable. If your surgery was on the right side you should not drive until you can wear a regular shoe. You should not sit in a hot tub until 2 weeks after surgery.
The second post-operative visit is usually at the 4 week point. At that time I will check to make sure that everything is healing satisfactorily. We will see how you are doing with your shoewear. It is possible that that will be the final visit, or I may ask you to see you one more time after an additional 4 – 6 weeks. If there are any problems or questions then we will deal with them as they present.
Most patients have swelling about the surgical area that lasts for about 4 months after surgery. With the initial swelling and pain from surgery the little toe motion is limited. As time goes on, and when you can walk in a regular shoe, the motion generally comes back close to what it was before surgery.
The goal of the surgery is to leave you with a painless foot that will allow normal activities and unrestricted shoewear. You should be able to regain full strength and power in the foot. Some patients have mild restriction of motion by the little toe, but it would be rare to cause any limitations. The toe should maintain a satisfactory alignment. Some patients will have some mild soreness still. Some will notice discomfort when the weather changes.
Complications can occur with any surgery.
Specific complications of this surgery include recurrence of the bump, and the possibility that the 5thtoe may drift up or toward the 4th toe.