Physical Therapy Might Aide Your Healing From Bunion Surgery

If you have a bunion, and it causes pain when you walk and interferes with your mobility, your podiatrist might recommend surgery to straighten your toe so your foot can function normally again. Physical therapy is often recommended after bunion surgery to strengthen your toes and feet and to restore range of motion in your calf, leg, thigh, and hip. Here's a look at how physical therapy might help with your bunion surgery.

Prehabilitation Allows You To Learn Exercises Early

Your podiatrist might recommend prehabilitation before you have bunion surgery, as well as rehab once the surgery is complete. In prehab, you learn what your physical therapy sessions will be like after surgery so you learn proper exercise techniques and can do your exercise properly when you're having post-op pain and weakness.

Prehab also strengthens your back, hip, feet, and toe muscles so they get a head start on getting stronger and more flexible before the surgery is done.

Physical Therapy Improves Muscle Strength

You may find living with a bunion caused some of your large muscles to weaken or lose flexibility. The effect of a foot problem can create weakness and muscle imbalances from your back to your toes. Part of your post-op physical therapy treatment could include exercises that restore your back, hips, and legs to more normal functioning. This might lower the risk of injuries, improve your balance, and improve your mobility.

Physical Therapy Helps Restore Normal Toe Motion

Your bunion may have prevented you from bending your toe and left your toe stiff and weak. When you have physical therapy after surgery, your therapist starts with mild toe exercises and gradually makes the exercises more intense so you can regain normal flexibility in your toe when possible.

Your therapist may teach exercises such as toe lifts and bends, as well as seated and standing heel raises, so you can do the exercises at home over the course of several weeks while you're recovering from your surgery. It could a few months until your toe heals and normal motion is restored and you're able to walk normally and resume your usual activities.

Physical therapy after bunion surgery is tailored to your specific needs. There are several surgical options for repairing your toe, and each body is different, so there isn't a single therapy plan for everyone. Your therapist teaches you the exercises that benefit you most so you'll regain as much muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion as possible during the recovery phase after surgery.