Whether you’re an avid runner or you’re just wondering when you can get back on the soccer field, many people ask us when they will be able to exercise and run again following a bunion removal procedure. There’s no straightforward answer to that question because every bunion and recovery plan is different, as are the goals the patient has for themselves. However, there tends to be a basic timeline that many athletes progress through on their way to returning to exercise after a corrective bunion procedure. We explore how long it often takes patients to return to exercise after bunion surgery in today’s blog.
Determining when you may be able to return to an exercise program involves a number of factors, including but not limited to:
For example, a person who is hoping to swim laps at the community pool may be able to do so much earlier than a marathoner can return to the pavement. So while the answer can vary quite a bit, here’s a closer look at a general guideline for returning to weight bearing activities after a corrective bunion procedure.
Most patients are non-weight bearing or limited-weight bearing for the first couple of weeks after bunion surgery. This will give the joint the time it needs to heal from the trauma of surgery and help stabilize the corrected joint. This part typically takes anywhere from 10 days to four weeks. After the surgeon is satisfied with your progress so far, they’ll sync you up with a physical therapist. These exercises will help build up strength and stability in the recovering foot, which will be important for helping you become full-weight bearing.
Over the next couple of weeks, you can expect to progress to more challenging physical therapy exercises as your foot gets better at handling more stress. You still want to be careful about how you’re stressing your foot during this time, because overdoing it can undo all the hard work you’ve put in.
Here’s where your goals and progress helps to determine when you can return to exercise. Some patients can handle some limited weight-bearing exercises like swimming or cycling around the 4-6 week mark, whereas a return to running can take anywhere from 6-10 weeks. To be sure that you are ready to undertake certain physical activities, it is recommended that you get clearance from your surgeon, their medical team or your physical therapist. Remember, everyone progresses at their own pace, and overloading the recovering foot can keep you out much longer, so slowly increase the pressure on your foot and check for clearance along the way.
If you have questions about a bunion or are interested in working with our medical team to take care of a toe joint issue, reach out to The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics today to learn how we can help.