Pain tolerance varies GREATLY for bunion surgery! It's the same reason some women have a baby with an epidural and some use no pain medication. The experience in our practice has been that most of our patients do need to take it very easy (lots of ice, rest and elevation) for the first 3-5 days after surgery and they do take pain medication consistently during this time. After several days, we find that most patients are only taking their pain medication maybe once during the day and at bedtime. Some patients don't take any pain medication AT ALL and 95% of our patients are completely off pain medication by the time their stitches are removed 2 weeks after surgery.
Most of my patients actually tell me they had much less pain then they expected and we are always happy to hear that!