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Recovery Times for Surgical Procedures in Podiatry

Posted December 28, 2023 in Podiatrist

Recovering from surgery on the foot or ankle can be frustrating, and many patients want to know precisely when they’ll be back on their feet. This blog describes standard foot and ankle surgeries, what recovery might look like, and provides a general idea of the recovery time.

5 Min Read

Unwell male employee with foot trauma wearing special splint use laptop. Injury and rehabilitation.

Although it can be difficult, we want to help our patients through their foot and ankle recovery as best as possible. Below, we will discuss recovery times for common podiatric surgeries so you know what to expect and can feel more confident through the process. 

  1. Bunion Surgery Recovery

Bunion surgery or a bunionectomy may be necessary to realign the first MTP joint to restore a pain-free function. Most patients must wear special footwear to protect their feet as they recover. Downtime is generally minimal, and you will most likely be able to walk immediately following surgery. You may need to take a week off if you usually work long shifts while on your feet or if you commute to work by foot. After removing your stitches around the 2nd week post-op, you will need physical therapy to restore a normal range of motion and flexibility to the foot. Our doctors work with expert physical therapists who specialize in this kind of post-operative rehabilitation.

Recovery time from bunion surgery: a month or more. 

  1. Tailor’s Bunion Surgery Recovery

Regular bunions are more common than Tailor’s bunions, as they form on the base of the big toe. A Tailor’s bunion forms on the opposite side, next to the little toe, and can cause significant pain. If your Tailor’s bunion becomes so debilitating that you cannot wear certain shoes and conservative treatment has failed, you may need Tailor’s bunion surgery. 

Similar to a bunionectomy, during Tailor’s bunion recovery, you’ll need to wear a surgical shoe. Your foot may be swollen for quite some time, and it will be difficult to bear weight on your foot, so you may need crutches or a cane for 10-14 days. Swelling should diminish after about 3-5 weeks post-op. Most patients return to walking in regular shoes six weeks after surgery. 

Recovery time for Tailor’s bunion surgery: 4-6 weeks, sometimes longer for swelling to dissipate entirely. 

  1. Hammertoe Surgery Recovery

Hammertoe surgery is generally more common, as rigid hammertoe requires surgical intervention. While multiple approaches to the procedure exist, as each patient will have different concerns, recovery is relatively straightforward. 

After the procedure, you must wear a special shoe to protect your toe(s) for around 4-6 weeks. After this time, swelling will most likely be resolved, enabling you to wear regular shoes. With the help of a protective shoe and in some cases, a cane, most patients can walk immediately after surgery. It is essential to keep your foot elevated as much as possible following hammertoe surgery, and to follow your surgeon’s post-op instructions carefully. 

Recovery time for hammertoe surgery: around 4-6 weeks

  1. Neuroma Surgery Recovery

Morton’s neuroma is a painful foot condition that is caused by inflammation of the nerves between the bones behind the middle toes, leading to pain between the toes and the ball of your foot. 

Recovery from neuroma surgery will vary from patient to patient, but you will most likely be put in a boot or cast to protect your foot and ankle. You will be asked to keep your foot elevated, stay off your feet as much as possible, and to ice regularly. Most patients will require a short course of physical therapy to ensure proper flexibility and range of motion. 

Recovery time for neuroma surgery: 8-12 weeks, but it varies

  1. Tendon Surgery Recovery

Tendons in the feet and ankles are typically damaged through tears and inflammation. Sometimes, tendon surgery is the only option for severe injuries. Tendon surgery is nuanced and may focus on repairing a torn tendon or performing a tendon transfer to replace a damaged tendon. 

Recovery from tendon surgery requires a protective boot and physical therapy to strengthen and regain full function. 

Recovery time for tendon surgery: several months

  1. Ganglion Cyst Removal Recovery

Ganglion cysts are lumps that develop on the bottom of the foot or ankle. While generally harmless and non-cancerous, they can grow in a location that makes it difficult or painful for normal function. In some cases, surgery is necessary to remove a ganglion cyst

After ganglion cyst removal, you may be prescribed pain medication or over-the-counter pain medication to ease discomfort. You should use ice packs and elevate your foot to help with discomfort. You may also need to wear a splint to help with recovery. Most patients do not need to take off work to recover. 

Recovery time for ganglion cyst removal: 2-4 weeks

Have Questions About Ankle and Foot Surgery Recovery in New York?

At Chelsea Foot and Ankle, we understand how frustrating it can be to undergo surgery and subsequent recovery. That’s why our team and podiatrists are committed to providing our patients with exemplary care before, during, and after surgery. If you’re having pain or difficulty walking and would like to schedule a consultation, call our New York City office today at (646) 355-1303. 

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