The whole idea of a recovery downtime may be painfully boring, especially since it entails a slow, gradual return to your previous activity levels, but it is highly essential to prevent infection and speed up wound healing.
Our orthopedic surgeons at Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland (OACM) understand that nobody wants to deal with the aftermath of a foot and ankle surgery, especially for a long time. So, we have prepared some tips to help you accelerate your healing process, which ultimately translates into a successful, speedy recovery. Check these out:
Tips for a Successful Recovery
- Ask for help. Make sure you have a good support system, especially within the first few days and weeks after your surgery. Apart from having someone drive you home, you need help on a daily basis. At least have someone drop by to do your errands and other tasks that you can’t do on your own.
- Make your home conducive to healing. You need to get rid of navigation hazards. Have grab bars and non-skid mats installed in places where you will need extra stability. Clutter should be cleared away to avoid accidents.
- Weight-bearing restrictions are part of your doctor’s post-operative instructions, so you need an assistive device such as a walker to ensure that you will stand and walk around with full support. Avoid standing for long periods, especially on hard surfaces. When you’re in bed, keep your leg elevated; do this within the first two weeks.
- Your foot and ankle will be wrapped in a bandage. Keep it clean and dry and follow your doctor’s instructions for when and how to shower.
- Post-surgical shoes provide optimal comfort and support, helping you prevent injury while you’re in recovery. You have to wear them for a period of approximately six weeks. You can only remove them once your doctor confirms that you have fully recovered.
- Take your prescribed medications as directed. If you’re taking medications for other conditions, you can resume taking them unless directed otherwise.
- Smoking can affect postoperative healing, so it’s in your best interest to avoid it.
- Eating nutritious foods can significantly help with your recovery. Certain medications can cause constipation; eating foods high in fiber can help you maintain healthy bowel movements.
- Constantly check your incision for signs of infection. Fever, pain, and warmth, and swelling around the incision site are signs of infection. Call your doctor right away if you experience any of these.
- Do not miss your follow-up appointments. Your first follow-up visit is usually when your doctor removes the bandage.
How Long Will Recovery Take?
People recover differently, but for most who undergo foot and ankle surgery, it can take between three and four months to completely get back to their normal routine. More complex surgeries can take up to a full year to recover. Normal footwear may be worn after the two-month period, depending on one’s rate of healing.
Your doctor will assess your recovery at every follow-up visit. If you have a sedentary job, it may be possible to return to work after a few weeks. However, if your job keeps you on your feet, it may take over two months before you can return to work. You may need some form of rehabilitation that includes strengthening and range-of-motion exercises to recondition your muscles and joints.
First-Rate Orthopedic Care in Eldersburg, Catonsville, or Columbia, MD
At Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland (OACM), your ease, comfort, and well-being are equally important to us. So if you come to us for an evaluation and treatment of your foot and ankle condition, we will make sure to exhaust all non-surgical options before recommending surgery. If we find that surgery is your only recourse, you can rest assured that you’re in good hands.
At Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland (OACM), our board-certified orthopedic surgeons have extensive experience in treating a wide range of foot and ankle conditions, from simple to complex cases. We have an ambulatory surgery center and physical rehabilitation services on-site, so you never have to drive around town for your orthopedic care. We will be with you every step of the way—all the way until you tell us about your success story!
If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation with any of our orthopaedic surgeons, call us today at (410) 644-1880, toll-free at (855) 4MD-BONE, or simply fill out this convenient online request form.