Stiff Toe After Bunion Surgery

Stiff Toe After Bunion Surgery

Table of Contents

As with any surgery, bunion removal comes with some possible complications. One of them is a stiff toe after bunion surgery. Is this a serious complication? Why does this happen, and how can you treat it? If you want to find out the answers to all these questions, stay with us – we’ve explained everything in this text. 

When Can You Experience Stiff Toe After Bunion Surgery?

Is it normal for my toe to be stiff after bunion surgery? Unfortunately, a stiff big toe after bunion surgery is a common complication, but in most cases, it isn’t something that you should worry about. Before we explain what you should do if this happens to you, let’s take a moment to talk about the reasons behind this problem. Why does stiffness occur after bunion surgery, regardless of the type of procedure?

It’s normal to expect some level of stiffness in the big toe joint simply because the surgery is some form of trauma to the joint and surrounding soft tissue. After the procedure, this results in the formation of scar tissue – the severity of this depends on the level of trauma to the tissue. The more severe the case is, the more aggressive the procedure has to be – which means more trauma to the tissue and more scarring. Sometimes, arthritis after bunion surgery can also be a reason for stiffness. 

Does the Stiff Toe After Bunion Surgery Mean That the Procedure Failed?

Considering that most cases of stiff toe after bunionectomy are temporary, this isn’t a reason to determine the surgery as a failed one. Stiffness is a normal problem after bunion surgery, and it will go away as you recover from this procedure. However, keep in mind that severe cases of stiffness that last longer than expected and prevent a patient from walking or weight-bearing without pain aren’t normal. This can mean a botched surgery – if this happens to you, it’s best to reach out to your doctor and go in for a check-up. 

How Long Does Stiffness Last After Bunion Surgery?

Common issues after a bunionectomy, such as stiffness, usually last through the recovery period. Of course, this means that the duration of stiffness and pain after surgery depends on the type of procedure you have undergone. The severity of your case also plays a role in this – more precisely speaking, the amount of time you had a bunion and how big the deformity was.

In most cases, minimally invasive surgery can fix the problem. This is great for patients, as this kind of surgery has a shorter recovery time and poses a significantly smaller trauma to the tissue compared to traditional surgery. You will need approximately six weeks to three months to fully recover. Stiffness usually lasts six to eight weeks after the procedure. In rare cases, a stiff toe and pain can last even one year after surgery

Will Exercise Help With Stiff Toe After Bunion Surgery?

Although sometimes another surgery is necessary to fix the stiff toe, in most cases, physical therapy can do the trick and help you feel better. Exercise can bring back some level of motion to the big toe joint, but it won’t always be the same as before the surgery. The reason behind this is quite simple – if you had a bunion for many years (like most patients do), your joint was in an abnormal position for far too long, and it’s difficult to restore its full function. The program you need will be determined by your doctor, but most patients will need usual exercises for the big toe, such as these:

  • Toe bends, repeat 20 times, 
  • Toe pushes, repeat 20 times, 
  • Toe lifts, repeat 20 times, 
  • Toe pulls, repeat 20 times, 
  • Heel raises (seated), repeat 20 times, 
  • Heel raises (standing), repeat 20 times. 

Consult With a Surgeon in Miami Before the Surgery

If you’re worried about the possible complications and recovery time after bunion surgery, it’s best to consult with a specialist who can explain everything and take away your worries. We can help you with that – Luxe Foot Surgery is an excellent place to reach out to. Our doctor will be more than happy to help you out. Contact us today to book your first free consultation – you can book an appointment by calling our office, or you can simply fill out an inquiry form on our website. 


Should I Exercise My Toes After Bunion Surgery?

Yes, it’s necessary to exercise your big toe after bunion surgery. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s essential if you want to prevent scar tissue from forming and ensure that you restore joint motion. However, keep in mind that, in some cases, not even exercises won’t be enough to get back to full motion. This depends on how long you had a bunion (that is, how long your toe was in an abnormal position) and what kind of bunion surgery you had. 

Why Is My Toe Stiff After Bunion Surgery?

It’s normal to experience some level of stiffness in your big toe joint after bunion surgery – this is expected due to the nature of the procedure, which involves working on the big toe joint. Stiffness after bunion surgery is usually a result of the formation of scar tissue, but it can also occur due to arthritis development. 

When Will I Be Able to Bend My Toe After Bunion Surgery?

This depends on the severity of your case and the type of bunion surgery that you had, but on average, patients will recover about six weeks to three months after surgery. Stiffness usually lasts about six to eight weeks, but everyone’s case is different.


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