Friday, July 19, 2013

Tips To Follow When Recovering From Foot Surgery

It's likely you've been feeling a lot of anticipation as your foot or ankle surgery date approached. It is normal to feel anxious, scared, upset, worried, or frightened about surgery of any kind. Remember however, that foot and ankle surgeries are rarely life-threatening and the outcomes will make you feel happier and healthier!
After your surgery you will be discharged from the hospital 1-4 hours after the procedure has been completed. Overnight stays are rarely prescribed, but when you get to leave the hospital is determined by your podiatrist and case manager. Previous to your surgery we will go over your discharge instructions and make post-operative appointments. These are very important to keep.
Your podiatrist will give you a prescription for medications you can take at home. Make sure to fill them and take them as prescribed. If you had stopped taking any medications before your surgery, you may start taking them again.
You will need someone to drive you home and possibly stay with you for the rest of the day. Some patients, especially the elderly, may require more care at a nursing or rehabilitation center. If you require therapy, your podiatrist and nurse will let you know. Be sure to use all equipment your podiatrist has provided you with for your post-operative care: walking boot, walking cast, bandages, crutches, and special shoes. These will help you recover quickly, efficiently, and healthfully.
When you return home, watch for signs of infection, which may include redness, fever of 101 degrees or more, swelling, and/or drainage at the incision site. You should also watch for signs of decreased circulation to the foot and ankle, which may include increase in pain, toenail beds that turn blue in color, foot or leg turns pale, coldness of your foot or ankle, and/or tingling and numbness.
You will likely experience pain and numbness for as long as 24 hours after surgery because of the mild anesthesia used at the end of surgery. After this wears off it is normal to feel moderate discomfort in your foot or ankle, as well as the sensation of pinching and pulling. When you put your foot down you may also feel throbbing. These are all normal sensations and you should not be alarmed.
After surgery elevate your foot or ankle to help with the pain and swelling. You should take your pain medication for the first week after your surgery. Take it regularly, even if you are not in pain at that moment. Do not let your pain escalate to intolerable heights. Ice your affected area 20 minutes every hour.
You will go home with a surgical dressing on your foot. Do not remove the dressing, even if it has become loose, dirty, or wet. It is normal to see your dressing soak up discharge from your surgical incision. However, if the dressing rapidly becomes bloodied, soiled, or wet, call the office immediately.
Your podiatrist may have prescribed an antibiotic to prevent infection. It is important you take the entire course of medication to prevent infection in the surgical site. If you take birth control pill, you will have to use another form of contraception to prevent pregnancy.
After your dressing has been changed and bandages have been put on, you should try not to get them wet. Avoid taking a shower, as even when you put a shopping bag over your foot, leaks can occur and may potentially cause infections at the surgical site. Consider taking a bath instead as you can dangle your foot out of the bathtub while you are cleaning up.
If you need foot or ankle surgery and do not currently see a podiatrist, call our Bristol office to make an appointment.
Richard E. Ehle, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Foot Deformity Doctor in CT
Podiatrist in Bristol, CT
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1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad I found these tips! I recently was told by my doctor that I would probably need to get foot surgery at some point in the near future. Quite honestly I'm pretty nervous. Often recovery can be the hardest part about surgery. It was the part I was most nervous about, so I'm glad I found these tips. It'll probably make the process a lot easier. Hopefully I find a good foot clinic that will make the surgery as painless as possible. Thanks for the post!