How To Get Back On Your Feet After Foot Surgery

Having foot surgery, well any surgery, is no laughing matter.  One of the most important things to remember is to listen to the instructions given to you by your doctor, nurse, and physical therapist when you are discharged from the hospital.  This includes heeding their advice on your functional limitations and the finer points of your post-operative care.  As such, here is the ultimate guide on how to get back on your feet after foot surgery.

It is important to remember that you will need to keep your foot elevated above the level of your heart for roughly 80% of the day.  This includes when you are sleeping.  I know that this might sound extreme, but this will help your circulation and will ensure that swelling after surgery will go down as soon as possible.

You also want to make sure that you keep weight of your foot for as long as possible.  Again, your doctor will give you exact instructions.  If you live alone, then you might want to consider moving in with a friend or a family member for the first couple of weeks after surgery.  If that is not an option, then you might want to consider a post-operative care hostile with people on call to help you with little things such as cooking, getting dressed, and even going to the bathroom.

I realize this can be frustrating, but it is important to remember that you won’t be as mobile after surgery, so you need to plan for all contingencies.  While most hospitals will have someone on staff to walk you through the process the best is to try and sit down with someone and walk through your requirements prior to being admitted for surgery.  This includes stocking up on groceries and other items which you will need on hand.  Remember the first week or so home will be just that, so you want to make sure you enough supplies to get you through this period.


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Surgery hurts and pain management is an important part of getting back on your feet after foot surgery.  As mentioned, you want to keep your feet elevated but you might also want to consider medication.  This could include prescription painkillers or it could be over-the-counter options.  Either way, you want to have a plan with your doctor on when and why to take pain medication, and importantly, what to do when the pain is too much.

A few things to keep in mind during your recovery process include staying away from alcoholic drinks or recreational drugs.  Also, you do not want to take pain medication on an empty stomach as this might cause nausea.  If you do feel lightheaded after taking your meds, then try and lie down.  If this continues, then reach out to your doctor as there might be another issue.  Remember to drink a lot of water while on pain medication as this will help to ensure that you don’t damage your kidneys or liver.  The recommendation is to drink at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water per day.

Another thing to keep in mind is surgical site care.  This is how to take care of the wound around the site of your incision.  Some of the key things to remember are to keep the site clean and dry always. You can achieve this by keeping the wound dressed by following the instructions you receive when leaving the hospital.  Also, you want to discuss with your doctor, the proper precautions you need to take when it comes to showering.

In most cases, you won’t be able to wash the area surrounding the wound for anywhere from one- to three-weeks following surgery.  Though you may be able to use a wound dressing solution to help keep the area clean.  If your doctor chooses packing over stitches, they make sure you have clear instructions on how to change out the packing.

Then there is physical therapy.  This will be a key part of your recovery as it is the opportunity to rebuild your muscles and to make sure that you can move around without any pain.  One of the key points of physical therapy is to outline the motivation as there will be times when the pain is too much and you just want to give up.  As part of the process, you will want to have a talk with your physical therapist to outline the process, the ups, and the downs, as well as how you want it to end up.

Remember patient outcome is what any surgery should be about and foot surgery is no different.  Yes, it can be a pain, but the entire idea of surgery is to get fix a problem with your foot.  So, a little pain and discomfort in the short-term will help you to get back on your feet in the long-run.

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