Recovery from foot or ankle surgery can be a long and intense process, but shouldn’t be unbearable. The more prepared you are and the closer you work with your doctor, the better your recovery will be. Once done with foot or ankle surgery, your podiatrist will provide some general guidelines to help you with aftercare. Patients who have foot or ankle surgery often take weeks or months to fully recover. During this time, you will need to adjust your lifestyle, so you enhance your recovery instead of hampering it.
Below are some guidelines for foot or ankle surgery aftercare. Always follow your doctor’s instructions carefully, and when unsure about a certain activity, it’s best to ask before doing it.
Get Ample Rest
You may find it hard to rest following foot and ankle surgery, especially if you are an athlete. However, resting for several days will help your wound heal faster. Until the external wound heals properly, the risk of infection and other complications is high. Therefore, it’s crucial to rest, so your body’s systems can work to heal you quickly and effectively.
Manage Pain and Inflammation
Undergoing surgery is a big deal and is often followed by pain and inflammation. While severe pain is likely to go away within a few days, you may feel mild to moderate pain for a few weeks. As such, your podiatrist will prescribe painkillers, steroids, and/or antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection and alleviate pain.
Elevating your leg is a good way to reduce swelling. Cold therapy (using an ice pack) can reduce pain and inflammation. When you experience post-surgery pain, a combination approach, such as pain medication, elevation, and cold therapy, is a better way to relieve symptoms rather than relying on a single treatment method.
Watch for Signs of Infection
One of the biggest risks of surgery is infection. To reduce your risk, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics and instruct you on how to change the wound dressing in the best way. It is crucial that you follow their instructions and take your medication as prescribed. Along with this, you should be on the lookout for signs of infection, which include increased pain and warmth at the surgery site, bleeding or discharge at the surgery site, and fever. If you notice any of these signs, immediately contact your doctor.
Partake in Physical Therapy
Once the surgery wound heals, you can begin physical therapy. This is an important part of your recovery, as surgery has likely weakened the structures of your foot, ankle, and lower leg. The lack of activity following surgery is also a contributing factor. Partaking in physical therapy will help strengthen your foot and ankle so that you can recover fully.
Physical therapy will begin with light stretching and gradually get more intense. You will likely need several weeks of physical therapy to fully benefit from it.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Your body needs the energy to heal properly following foot or ankle surgery. Therefore, it is essential to eat a healthy diet and avoid foods that cause inflammation. Taking enough protein can help your bones and tendons heal faster. A good balance of nutrients and enough calorie intake will make it easier for your body to heal.
Foot And Ankle Surgery Experts In Central Maryland
If you wish to get back on your feet quickly, follow all the aftercare guidelines provided by your podiatrist. Our board-certified podiatrists at
Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland can offer you a personalized treatment plan and aftercare guidelines.
If you want more information about your foot or ankle condition or wish to schedule an appointment, call (410) 644-1880 or toll-free at (855) 4MD-BONE (463-2663). You may also set up a consultation by filling out our appointment request form.