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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A bunionectomy is surgery to remove the bunion and bring your big toe back into its correct position. Bones, tendons, nerves, or ligaments may also be moved or put into the correct position.
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:
- You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
- You cough up blood.
Seek care immediately if:
- Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- Blood soaks through your bandage or drains out of your brace or cast.
- Your stitches come apart.
- Your incision is red, swollen, or draining pus.
Call your doctor or surgeon if:
- Your bandage gets wet, is loose, or comes off.
- Your pain gets worse or does not get better with pain medicine.
- You have a fever and chills.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may need any of the following:
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Antibiotics help prevent a bacterial infection.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Care for your wound as directed:
Do not remove the bandage unless your healthcare provider tells you to. The bandage helps keep your toe in the correct position while it heals. Keep your bandage and wound dry. Wrap your foot in a plastic bag before your bathe. Seal the bag as tightly as you can. Try to keep your foot out of the water.
Care for your foot:
- Elevate your foot above the level of your heart as often as you can for the first 3 days after surgery. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your foot on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
- Apply ice on your foot or cast for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
You may need to limit activity for the first 3 days after surgery. Ask your healthcare provider when you can safely be active. Activity will help prevent a blood clot. The following can help protect your toe and surgery wound until you heal:
- Wear a post surgical shoe for 2 to 6 weeks or as directed. This shoe helps keep your foot and toes in a stable position to help you heal faster. It also protects your toe from injury.
- Use crutches or a walker as directed if you cannot put any weight on your foot. You may have a brace or cast to hold the position of your foot while it heals.
Go to physical therapy if directed:
A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. The therapist will tell you how and when to start moving your toe. This will help prevent stiffness.
Follow up with your doctor or surgeon as directed:
You may need to return in 2 or 3 weeks to have your stitches removed. You may need to wear a support bandage or brace for 6 to 12 weeks. You will need regular follow-up visits for several months to make sure your foot heals correctly. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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