Foot and ankle surgeries typically have long recovery times — from six months to a year. It’s a process that you should go about carefully, as taking shortcuts may lengthen your recovery time or even necessitate a repeat surgery.
So, what are the concrete steps you should be taking while recovering? Let’s find out.
Post-Foot Surgery Lifestyle
Podiatrists have general reminders for patients who have undergone foot and ankle surgeries. These are the fundamental practices that will become part of your day-to-day life, at least for a couple of weeks to a few months.
It is vital to rest while recovering. Depending on what procedure you had done, your podiatrist will likely tell you to stay off your feet for several days or weeks. You may need assistive devices in the meantime.
You can expect pain for several days after the procedure, but don’t worry, your doctor will likely prescribe painkillers for foot pain. Your prescription may require you to take them at scheduled times or when you feel you need pain relief.
You will also need to take antibiotics. All surgeries have an infection risk. You must take your prescribed antibiotics as directed to ensure that you heal correctly and prevent post-surgical complications. It is critical to take your full round of antibiotics as prescribed. Do not stop taking them for any reason other than your doctor’s instructions.
Wound care is routinely done over the first few weeks post-op, depending on how deep the surgical wound is. You may need to apply ointments regularly to help the wound heal and prevent an infection at the surgical site. It’s also helpful to keep the wound clean and dry.
While surgery helps fix your foot or ankle condition, it’s still a significant undertaking that may have post-surgical complications. Physical therapy helps prevent problems such as:
- Excessive scar tissue
- Decreased strength
- Decreased range of motion
- Blood clots
- Swelling and inflammation
Rest is still important after surgery. However, staying in bed for extended periods has multiple negative effects. Therefore, it’s best to balance rest with light movements and therapy.
Following A Diet
You may start eating normally after surgery. However, your body has just undergone a significant procedure and will need plenty of resources to recover. While it’s best to have a healthy diet all of the time, it’s vital to do so after you undergo surgery.
Your body will need lots of nutrients to ensure that it heals correctly, so be sure to have a diet with plenty of vegetables, lean meats, and dairy products. It’s also important to stay hydrated, so drink plenty of water.
Foot and ankle orthopedic surgeons will give patients individual instructions on when to return. However, check-ups typically occur one and three weeks after surgery.
It is critical to attend all follow-up visits with your podiatrist! They might spot problems you may miss or recommend changes in your post-surgical lifestyle.
The Post-Foot Surgery Lifestyle That Works For You
All the steps above are recommendations; ultimately, the best things to do after a foot and ankle surgery will depend on you, the patient. Every patient has differences in how they recover and will have different needs after their operation.
For instance, some patients may be more susceptible to pain and won’t be able to undergo many or intense physical therapy sessions or will need more potent painkillers. Other patients might be able to persevere and do more physical activity — subject to the approval of their orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist.
It’s best to consult your doctor regarding any changes you might want to make to your post-surgery recovery plan. Describe any problems you have clearly and completely — the more information your doctor has, the better they will be able to treat you. Recovery from an operation is a lengthy process that you should not take lightly.
Podiatrists and Foot Surgery Experts In Central Maryland
While it is tempting to get back on your feet right away, it is essential to follow all instructions given by your podiatrist to avoid further issues. If you have any concerns, always alert your doctor for proper and immediate care.
The Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland houses board-certified foot and ankle specialists with plenty of experience treating orthopedic foot and ankle conditions. Our facilities are highly-equipped to better provide any orthopedic services you might need.
If you have questions or would like to book an appointment with us, you may contact us at (410) 644-1880 or toll-free at (855) 4MD-BONE (463-2663). Our friendly staff will be happy to answer your concerns and questions. You may also fill out our online appointment request form.