Exercise & Recovery After Bunion Surgery

The following exercises are recommended:               

  • Sit cross-legged with your legs apart
  • With your hand holding the foot, gently move your toes up and down
  • With your index finger, push on the middle of each toe, one at a time. Push slowly but firmly and hold for 3-5 seconds.

Perform exercises ten times per day for approximately 5-7 minutes each session.

Post-operative Treatment Schedule

Days 1 - 15

It's important to reduce the amount of swelling and inflammation during the initial rehabilitation period by:

  • Elevating your foot above heart level for at least three hours per day
  • Limiting your time in a sitting position to a maximum of four hours a day (including meal times)
  • Icing your foot to reduce swelling as much as possible
  • Walking as little as possible.

Days 15 - 30

Continue to rest your feet, elevating as necessary. You can sit for longer periods and slowly increase your level of activity. However, if swelling occurs, you'll need to increase the amount of time your foot is elevated.

Around Day 30

Your foot will need to be examined by your surgeon, who may recommend massage or provide further instructions., including feedback on whether future consultations are required.

From Day 30

Gently push your toes on the ground. Ensure that you're using the pads of your toes, not the tips, as this can encourage the development of claw toes.


From Day 45

Exercise by rising on tip-toe


Days 45 - 60

If you've correctly performed your exercises, it's unlikely that you will experience any problems. If stiffness is present, mobilisation may be recommended. This is similar to physiotherapy, but performed under general anaesthesia. It will increase movement and suppleness of the foot.

Days 60

Oedema (fluid retention) will slowly disappear but exercises must be continued. You will be able to progressively return to wearing normal shoes, but it's important to contact your surgeon if any problems arise. 

Consultation 1 year post surgery

It's imperative that you attend a one year post-surgery consultation to assess the stability and positioning of the osteotomies (bone surgery) and to determine whether screw removal is required. Further corrective surgery may be required if there are signs of bunion re-occurrence.