After Foot and Ankle Surgery
Please follow the detailed instructions provided to you from the nurse upon discharge. Many of the functional limitations that you are experiencing in recovery will continue post-operatively. If you live alone and receive deep or moderate sedation, you should make arrangements for someone to stay with you and help you during your initial recovery.
Keep in mind you will need to elevate your operative leg above the level of your heart (80% of the day). Most patients are NON WEIGHT BEARING, but some are foot flat weight bearing status on the operative leg for the first 48 hours. Dr. Deland will provide specific instructions. You will likely need assistance at home for at least 48 hours as discomfort and your weight bearing status will initially limit mobility.
Pain Management at Home
Elevate your operative extremity to a level slightly above the heart while sitting. Take your pain medication as prescribed by your physician. Take it before the pain becomes too severe. It is more difficult to treat severe pain once it is established.
In the event that the pain medication does not work or you are experiencing unpleasant side effects, or your symptoms worsen, do not hesitate to call Dr. Deland’s office.
- DO NOT drink alcoholic beverages or use “recreational” drugs when taking pain medication.
- Avoid taking pain medication on an empty stomach. Have something to eat first to reduce the risk of experiencing the unpleasant side effects of nausea.
- You may get lightheaded after taking pain medication. Move slowly when getting up from lying to standing position.
- Take your pain medication 30-45 minutes before doing your prescribed exercises.
- Drink a lot of water (at least eight 8oz. glasses per day) to keep yourself well hydrated after surgery and to prevent constipation.
Surgical Site Care
- Keep your surgical site area clean and dry at all times. Do not put tight clothing over it.
- Keep the surgical site dressing on; follow the specific instructions provided by the nursing staff on your discharge instruction form.
- Your sutures (stitches) and remaining steri-strips will be removed during your first postoperative visit with Kristine, usually about 10-14 days after surgery.
- Discuss with Dr. Deland’s office when you may shower.
Prevention of blood clots (also known as phlebitis or Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT))
Although the risk of developing a blood clot is very low following foot and ankle surgery, multiple steps are taken to reduce those risks even further. Remember to let Dr. Deland know if you have been using nicotine products, hormonal replacement therapy, or birth control pills as they can increase your risk for clots and may require modifications to your treatment plan. Dr. Deland will choose the most appropriate preventive measures for you but some examples are outlined below.
It is critical that you understand that motivation and participation in your physical therapy program is a vital element in the success of your surgery and your overall recovery. It is imperative that you play an active role in your recovery and rehabilitation from the start! Dr. Deland will recommend the appropriate physical therapy regimen.