Having surgery on your foot will change your daily routine drastically for a short time. Here are many questions that patients have asked in the past when having to face surgery.
Will I be able to walk after the surgery?
• This is highly dependent upon the type of surgery. Some surgeries may require you to not bear any weight for 4-6 weeks where other less complicated procedures may only require you to bear weight with wearing a surgical shoe or walking boot.
Can I drive after having surgery done on my right foot?
• Immediately after surgery, no you will not be able to drive due to the type of anesthesia that is used. So have a ride arranged to pick you up from the surgery center. After the surgery on the right foot, you should never drive as a cast, surgical shoe and walking boot are all large and will cause you to hit the brake pedal while hitting the gas. In addition, when wearing these devices you will not be able to move your ankle downwards to properly hit the pedals. Also, putting the weight on your foot may cause pain and lead to improper healing.
When should I do for pain and when should I start taking pain medication?
• It is recommended to stay ahead of your pain the day of and after your surgery, so it is best to follow the instructions on the scheduling of your pain medication. However, after 3 days, for most procedures, you can begin to wean yourself off of the pain medication. In addition, to taking pain medication, your pain can be reduced by keeping your foot elevated above the level of your heart after surgery, especially the first couple days. By elevating your foot, you are helping to prevent swelling, which will help to prevent pain. You can also ice the foot to help decrease inflammation. If you are wearing a cast, put an ice pack behind your knee to help cool the blood going down into your foot.
When will I be able to put weight on my foot and get back to my regular activities?
• This will depend on the type of surgery you have. However, for most foot surgery, involving bone, 6-8 weeks will be needed for the bone to heal properly. If the bone is not healing you may need a bone stimulator. If the surgery, did not involve the bone, and only soft tissue you should be able to return to activity sooner than 6-8 weeks.
When will I get my stitches out and is it painful to have them removed?
• A surgical incision in the skin takes approximately 2 weeks to heal. Stitches will usually be removed at 2-3 weeks. Removing stitches is not painful, but some patients say that removing them feels like a small pinch. Most patients say that it usually feel better after the stitches have been removed.
What do I do if my cast or bandage got wet?
• You should not shower the foot after surgery and if you do it is best to get a cast cover. Cast covers should be used during bathing and if going out in the rain. For bathing it is best to wear the cast cover and for extra safety precautions dangle the foot outside of the bathtub, especially since the cast cover may leak. If your cast or bandage does become wet, you should call Boulder Foot and Ankle Clinic, because the cast or bandage will need to be changed. If you ignore it, you increase your risk of infection at the site of surgery.
Any questions prior to surgery will be answered by Dr. Yakel, at Boulder Foot and Ankle Clinic prior to having surgery.
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American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine