Doctors recommend bunion surgery patients to refrain from any exercise during the post-operative period. However you can start running after full recovery (typically eight weeks) with your physician's approval. Running after bunion surgery should be done with caution, and there are things that you can do to ensure a smoother transition from your post-operative period to a running routine.
Do some gravity-assisted exercises to strengthen you foot and to prepare your muscles for running. Stand on your toes for approximately 10 seconds at a time, or for as long as you can tolerate it. Walk up the steps as this will increase the flexibility in the big toe joint of your foot. Do this several times a day for the first week.
Walk for 20 minutes at a steady pace for the second week after your recovery. Do this every day, or every other day depending on your own comfort and fitness level. You should be able to accomplish this without any foot pain. If you experience any pain, consult with your physician. Make sure you are wearing running shoes with proper cushioning and support.
Start running three times a week for the third week. Do this on intervals. For example, you can pick Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. For the first day, run for five minutes then walk for 20 minutes. For the second day, run for seven minutes then walk for 16 minutes. For the third day, run for 10 minutes then walk for 10 minutes. You need to let yourself adjust gradually to the strain and shock running will put on your foot and adjoining muscles and joints.
Stretch each time after your work out. Put emphasis on stretching the arch of your foot and flexion of your toes as this will help relieve any stiffness and discomfort. If you feel any pain, consult your physician immediately as you might need more time to recover or you might need orthothic inserts to provide more support to your foot.
Continue the routine by slowly increasing the duration of your runs and decreasing the length of your walks. Keep doing your stretching exercises each time after you work out.