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Caring for your foot after surgery

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Your big toe joint needs time to heal after your bunion surgery. This means wearing some kind of cover to protect it and staying off your foot for a while.

Which cover works best?

After bunion surgery, doctors use different kinds of covers to protect your foot:

  • A hard cast made of plaster

  • A special shoe

  • A soft bandage made of cloth.

We don't know which one works best because there hasn't been much research on this. [7] Here is what we know so far.

A soft cloth bandage works as well as a hard plaster cast for protecting your foot after surgery. [7] [22] [23]

The two covers work the same in terms of:

  • How much your foot hurts three months after the operation [22]

  • How long it takes you to get back to normal [22]

  • How much better the angles between your foot bones are after surgery. [23]

How long should you stay off your foot?

We also don't know for sure when is the best time to start standing and walking on your foot after bunion surgery. One summary of the evidence (a systematic review) showed that toe joints heal the same if you rest your foot in a plaster cast for at least one month afterwards or if you start putting weight on your foot soon after surgery. [7] [24]

It also isn't clear whether having a machine to move your toe around after surgery (called continuous passive motion) helps you to recover. Doing this is thought to prevent scar tissue. [25]


systematic reviews

A systematic review is a thorough look through published research on a particular topic. Only studies that have been carried out to a high standard are included. A systematic review may or may not include a meta-analysis, which is when the results from individual studies are put together.

For more terms related to Bunions


For references related to Bunions click here.
Last Updated: January 19, 2011
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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