Foot Surgery Recovery Tips

The foot, consisting of 28 bones connected by joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, is prone to injuries that can cause pain and limited movement. When conservative healing methods fail to correct a podiatric injury or condition, foot and ankle surgery may be the answer.

While the recovery process means slowly returning to previous activity levels, it’ll be worth it. In the end, you can live a life pain-free and get back to normal daily activities.

Below are helpful tips to aid in your foot surgery recovery.

Clean Your Home

Before surgery, it’s best to clean and organize your home to reduce the risk of falls or injuries. Surgery is a big undertaking, and taking these simple steps helps ensure a successful recovery.

  • Remove loose wires and clear away clutter.
  • Organize clothes, foods, and toiletries you use often so they can easily be reached.
  • Put grab bars and non-slip mats in the bathroom for extra support.
  • Plug night lights in various rooms to help you see at night.

Stock Up on Necessities

After surgery, it’s essential to rest as much as possible, so pick up any necessities ahead of time. Stock up on enough food, medicines, and household items to last at least one week.

Nutrition is an important aspect of recovery. In fact, studies show that proper nutrition affects the healing process of surgical procedures.

You can prepare meals in advance and buy meals that are simply heated in the microwave or eaten cold. Include protein, fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Use an Assisted Device

Your doctor’s post-operative instructions will likely include weight-bearing restrictions. Not closely adhering to these could disrupt the healing process and delay recovery.

An assisted device like a cane, knee scooter, walker, or crutches will help you walk without losing your balance.

Properly Navigate Stairs

Stairs can also be a hazard. If the bedroom is upstairs, setting up a sleeping area on the main floor may be a good idea.

When using stairs, remember to ascend by leading with your good foot and then your repaired foot. Take it slowly, one step at a time, using the handrail for support. When descending, you’ll start with your repaired foot instead.

Keep Your Bandage Dry

Your post-surgical bandage will need to stay clean and dry, so cover it with saran wrap, a plastic bag, or cast cover when taking a shower. If the area becomes wet, gently pat it dry.

To keep the weight off your leg, sit on a shower chair or bench, which typically has a plastic seat, aluminum legs, and non-slip rubber feet.

Know Your Symptoms

It is normal to experience a low-grade fever the first week, pain, warmth, swelling, bruising, bleeding, and fluid discharge. Let your doctor know immediately if the fever continues or goes above 100.5°F.

Elevating your foot and ankle is an effective way to reduce swelling and improve comfort. Using several pillows or a leg elevation pillow, raise your foot above the level of your heart. It’s recommended to do so for 30 minutes every 2 hours for the first 14 days.

Should there be blood or discharge on the dressing, it is ok to apply extra gauze, but do not remove the entire dressing. In most cases, your first dressing change will be performed at your first follow-up visit.

Do Post-Operative Exercises

Exercising plays a large role in the recovery process, helping to:

  • regain strength, mobility, and flexibility, 
  • reduce pain and swelling, and
  • minimize the development of scar tissue.

You’ll receive exercises to do after surgery from your doctor. Depending on the type of surgery, you may also see a physical therapist.

Request an Appointment With The Foot & Ankle Center

When you experience continued discomfort in your feet or ankles, don’t think that it has to stay that way. The knowledgeable podiatrists at The Foot & Ankle Center have decades of experience in correcting even the most advanced conditions and injuries.

We offer Achilles tendon, arthritis, bunion, hammertoe, neuroma, and toe surgeries, among several other advanced foot and ankle surgeries.

Learn more about the best path for your podiatric health by requesting an appointment online or calling us at (314) 487-9300!