Physiotherapy advice following the cast removal after a bunionectomy

print_iconLeaflet number: 665
Review due date: June 2018


What is a bunionectomy?

The surgical procedure performed to remove bunions; a growth, or enlargement at the base of the big toe. Bunions push the bones in the big toe out of line, causing the toe to curve inward toward the others.

Following a bunionectomy it is important that you follow the below advice to aid recovery and reduce the risk of complications.


It is very important to keep the affected foot elevated above hip level as much as possible for the first two weeks to help reduce swelling.


It is important to start moving your ankle and foot straight after the cast has been removed to prevent the joints becoming stiff.

Exercise 1

In sitting or lying. Pull your foot up towards you and push down towards the floor.
Repeat 10 times.

exercise 1a

Exercise 2

In sitting or lying. Rotate your ankle.
Repeat 10 times.

exercise 1b

Exercise 3

In sitting or lying. Curl and straighten your toes.
Repeat 10 times.

Repeat the exercises little and often throughout the day.

Additional information

Ensure that your pain is controlled with sufficient pain relief, as prescribed by your doctor.

If you have had a wire removed from your toe, do NOT immerse your foot in water until it has healed. If the wounds have not healed, then the area must be kept dry.

Returning to work: This depends on individual circumstances and your type of employment. If you have a sedentary type of employment and you are able to elevate your operated foot then you may return to work from two weeks following your surgery, but it may take up to three months for someone to return to a physically demanding job.

Further information

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Physiotherapy Department at North Devon District Hospital on 01271 322378.


(Illustrations – © PhysioTools LTD)


Posted in Patient Information Leaflets, Physiotherapy and tagged , .

Last updated: October 10, 2019