The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

What Is Bunion Surgery Really Like? Woman Shares Bunion Surgery Experience

Posted by on Monday, October 19th, 2015


Bunion surgery is no “walk in the park,” but patients with pain and deformity say it’s worth it “to have two feet again.” Writer and inspirational speaker Lois Fink shares her harrowing tale of real bunion surgery recovery, detailing what it’s like.1 Though she’s not one of ours, we feel her experience helps our prospective bunion surgery patients develop realistic expectations about the road ahead. Naturally, your one-on-one consultation with The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine’s board-certified podiatric surgeons will help you explore your full range of options and prepare you for surgery too, if necessary.

bunion surgery
A post-bunionectomy foot is not a pretty sight, but for many patients the procedure is worth it. Image source: Flickr CC user Wayne Noffsinger

Lois Fink’s Bunion

Lois had a love for “black, slingback shoes that looked like Jimmy Choo knock offs.” Over time, her left big toe migrated toward the second toe as the joint pushed further outward. She sought help from an orthopedic surgeon once the “orb became red and caused pain while walking.” After two weeks, two x-rays and a patient consultation, she decided to go ahead and have a bunionectomy to repair the damage.

The Bunion Surgery Procedure

Since we typically put patients under general anesthesia or ankle block anesthesia with IV sedation during the bunion surgery procedure, you can relax knowing that the process of bunion correction itself is nothing to worry about. There are more than 100 different procedures we may select to repair your particular bunion, which will all be discussed during your patient-surgeon consultation before the big day.

After Bunion Surgery

“I woke up in pain, vaguely conscious my left foot felt unnaturally bulky,” Lois recalled. “Miraculously, modern medicine intervened in the form of a narcotic injection, and I fell into a drug-induced sleep. What seemed like only moments later, I was told it was time to dress and go home; bunion correction is a same-day procedure. I barely remember being escorted to my friend’s car or the ride home.”

Bunion surgery recovery typically involves keeping the foot dry and taking pain medication. Some nausea is common during that first week, so you’ll want easily digestible foot like crackers, Jello, soup, and apples handy. Every person’s pain tolerance is different. Most people have no issue if they take their prescribed pain medication on schedule to head off the pain.2 For Lois, only a couple days in the hospital receiving narcotic medication under nurse supervision would do.

Once you get over the initial pain hurdle, you can expect three weeks on crutches and up to eight weeks altogether in a special bunion shoe — a somewhat lengthy period of relative immobility, which some say is the hardest part of rehabilitation. Lois said she spent two weeks reclining on her sofa with her foot propped up, “watching E-Hollywood, Lifetime and A&E on television.” She returned to her desk job the fourth week after surgery and was back in regular shoes at week six.  You’ll need to visit your surgeon six times, spaced a week apart, for routine wound cleanings and dressing changes.


Bunion surgery is a life-changing experience for those who have suffered debilitating pain and deformity. However, it’s not always perfect. As Lois found out, what happens to one foot could easily happen to the other. It’s believed to be a matter of genetics in most cases.3 A year and a half after her surgery, she opted to have the right foot done as well. If you have bunions on two feet at the same time, most surgeons will advocate having the procedures done spaced at least a couple weeks apart, so you’re not completely overwhelmed and incapacitated.

The Second Bunion Surgery

Lois said the first few days after her second bunion surgery was much the same as her first, although she didn’t go to the hospital for pain medication this time. She felt more motivated to do a little cleaning, crutches and all. “Now, 20-plus years later, and foot surgery trials a dim memory,” she concludes. “I love showing off my feet in a pair of slinky, snappy sandals with no unsightly bunions to mar their beauty.”

Bunion Surgery in NYC

The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine offices in Manhattan and Westchester specialize in bunion surgery and care in the New York City metro area. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert has over 42 years of experience in the field and is trained in all the latest techniques. Contact us to book a bunion surgery consultation or discuss alternate treatment options.




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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.