How Long Does Swelling Last After Bunion Surgery?

Table of Contents

Swelling is a normal part of the recovery process after bunion surgery. The extent and duration of swelling will vary depending on the type of bunion surgery performed, the patient’s individual healing process, and the post-operative care.

In general, swelling can last for several weeks or even months after bunion surgery. The most significant swelling typically occurs in the first 2-3 weeks and then gradually subsides over time. It’s not uncommon for the swelling to come and go and may be more pronounced at certain times of the day or after certain activities. That being said, note that minimally invasive surgery implies less swelling and shorter recovery time.

It’s important to follow the post-operative instructions given by your surgeon and to be compliant with the rehabilitation protocol. If you have any concerns about the swelling or if it persists for an extended period of time, it’s best to contact your surgeon.

What Are the Complications of Bunion Surgery?

Studies have shown that up to 90% of patients who went through a bunion surgery are satisfied with the results – that number goes even higher with the minimally invasive type of procedure. However, that doesn’t mean that patients don’t face some problems after bunion surgery, which can lead to complications and delayed healing. 

Some complications can be minor, such as a stiff toe, numbness, and swelling – but they can be successfully treated with the right care and disappear quickly. The more severe complications include infection, continued pain, nerve damage, and bunion recurrence. Still, keep in mind that even minor complications can become serious problems if they are prolonged. 

How to Ensure That You Make a Good Recovery?

A man's bandaged foot

Being an outpatient procedure, bunion surgery implies you’ll be sent home just several hours after it’s completed. However, the recovery process lasts long after you’re discharged. During this process, there are some instructions you need to follow in order to shorten your recovery time and make sure you achieve the surgery results you want.


Whenever you’re sitting, lying down, or sleeping after bunion surgery, try to prop up a foot on a pillow, possibly above the level of your chest – it will help you reduce the swelling. You should do so for at least three days following the procedure in order to reduce the swelling and increase your comfort.


Immediately after the surgery, walking can be an issue since you won’t be able to place your whole weight on your foot. It’s expected that you can start walking again around ten weeks post-surgery, but you still mustn’t put too much pressure on the operated foot. When you start feeling pain or swelling, know that it’s time to rest. 

At the same time, note that surgical shoes are usually necessary up to two months following the procedure – after that, you can start wearing conventional shoes.

A patient wearing a surgical shoe after bunion surgery

Regular Ice

Ice can greatly help the pain and swelling following the surgery. Once your foot is elevated, hold the ice on your foot for ten and twenty minutes each hour. However, remember to place a cloth or similar material between your skin and the ice as a protective barrier – it will help you avoid possible frostbite.

Dressings & Wound Care

You’ll leave the clinic with bandages, and it’s essential they remain in place during the first few weeks of the recovery process. At the same time, when showering after the procedure, make sure the bandages stay dry, so your wound can heal – waterproof plastic bags can be of assistance here.

The dressing is usually kept for two weeks following the surgery. However, depending on the operation type, your doctor may decide that foot wrapping is needed for a few more weeks. 


The standard medication patients get are painkillers and, in some cases, antibiotics, so the risk of infection is reduced to a minimum. In order to make a good recovery, it’s important to take medicines as directed. 

If you start having side effects from some prescribed medication, contact your doctor. At the same time, if you’re taking some other prescribed medication, you need to consult with your doctor about when you can start using them again. 


Physical therapy is another essential part of the recovery process. You’ll be provided with a set of exercises that will help you improve the strength, flexibility, and movement of your foot and toes. Physical therapy can also help you avoid some post-op complications, such as toe stiffness and numbness. Therefore, in order to achieve full recovery, it’s important to follow the therapy program.

A woman doing toe exercises

Talk to Your Surgeon in Miami About Recovery Before the Procedure

You’ll get the most precise information about the bunion surgery process, as well as the recovery and possible complications, from experienced specialists. Our team at Luxe Foot Surgery clinic is there for any questions you may have, so don’t hesitate to contact us. Fill out the form on our website or simply contact us over the phone – and schedule your free consultation. 


Why Is My Foot Still Swollen 6 Weeks After Bunion Surgery?

Six weeks following the surgery, your bones are still healing, so it’s normal to witness some swelling – which is why you should rest frequently. 

Why Do I Still Have a Bump After Bunion Surgery?

Unfortunately, bunions can reappear after the surgery. If you notice a bump, it’s best to contact the clinic where you’ve done the procedure.


You should like

Luxe Foot Surgery Logo

Book your Free Consultation

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.