A bunion correction procedure can provide a patient with much-needed pain relief and can greatly reduce their likelihood of a recurrent bunion on the same joint, but the operation alone doesn’t provide all the treatment a patient needs. The operation is important, but so too is how the patient aids their own recovery in the coming weeks and months. For many patients, this involves wearing a corrective boot or splint.
Patients tend to understand why they need to wear a boot when they are awake, moving and completing their daily exercises, but one of the most common questions we field in regards to bunion boots is if the patient can take it off when they are sleeping. After all, a boot isn’t the most comfortable object to sleep in. And while the answer to this question ultimately resides in the surgeon who oversaw your procedure, we’re here to share why you should consider wearing your boot or splint while you sleep.
Wearing Your Bunion Boot At Night
Again, we want to preface this by saying that you should receive a personalized recommendation from your surgeon, but here are some general reasons as to why you should wear your boot at night.
- The Joint Is Fragile – We don’t mean fragile in the sense that we’re scared you’ll fracture the area while you sleep, but a corrected joint is in a fragile state from a malleability standpoint. Wearing a boot for eight or more hours at night ensures the joint is not only protected, but remains in the correct position while you’re sleeping.
- Short-Term Vs. Long-Term – By taking off your boot at night, you may be sacrificing some long-term stability for some short-term comfort. Patients that have to undergo a secondary bunion operation often wish they would have done more to prevent a recurrence, and that’s exactly what overnight splinting and boot wearing can prevent.
- It’s Not That Bad – Yes, it may be uncomfortable the first or second night, but eventually you’ll find it easier to fall asleep with the boot on. But if you can fight through that small discomfort, you can take solace in knowing that you’re actively helping your foot while you’re asleep by wearing the boot. You can wake up in the morning with 6-8 hours of corrective pressure on your recovering toe joint all by putting in the work while you’re asleep. The benefits simply outweigh the drawbacks.
- You Get Out What You Put In – Like most recovery efforts, you get out what you put in. If you’re half-hearted about your commitment to wearing your boot, you can expect to make a less-than-stellar recovery. You’re only cheating yourself and your health by failing to wear your boot like you’re advised, so make a commitment to your long-term health and wear your boot as recommended.
Follow your doctor’s advice in regards to how you should manage your bunion site after the operation, but know that wearing a corrective boot while you’re sleeping is one of the easiest things you can do to really help stabilize the joint when it’s in a fragile state.