6 Tips For A Speedy Recovery Following Surgery on Your Foot or Ankle

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People experience discomfort or pain in the foot and ankle due to any number of reasons, such as Achilles tendonitis, injuries and plantar fasciitis. When addressing the issue, podiatrists typically begin by investigating non-surgical options and recommend foot and ankle surgery if non-surgical options fail to successfully treat the problem. Today, Dr. Joel Segalman and Dr. Stephen Lazaroff at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC are sharing their tips for recovering from foot or ankle surgery. 

Podiatrists typically recommend foot and ankle surgeries to treat issues such as post-traumatic and degenerative arthritis, sports/stress injuries, forefoot conditions, ankle deformities, and the underlying causes. Following are 6 tips to ensure a speedy and comfortable recovery following surgery. 

  1. When resting, keep your foot elevated. Patients who undergo this type of surgery may experience pain and discomfort accompanied by numbness around the area due to the buildup of fluid. To address this issue, elevate your foot while resting for at least seven days following surgery.  

  2. Apply ice packs to the affected area to reduce pain and swelling. While this is quite helpful, patients should not leave the pack on bare skin for more than 20 minutes to avoid frostbite. You can keep it on longer if the dressing is still in place because it protects the skin and guards against the impact of overexposure to cold temperatures. 

  3. Clean the cast frequently. Soiled casts are a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that may lead to infection. Use covers specifically designed for casts or cover with two plastic bags when taking a shower. Dry the cast with a dryer immediately if it gets wet.  

  4. Adhere to instructions regarding weight-bearing. Use a wheelchair, crutches, or a walker to prevent undue stress on the operated area. Both weight-bearing and non-weight patients need to restrict their movement to avoid complications. If wearing a postoperative shoe, you may transfer weight to the heel and the exterior of the foot, but should not put any pressure on the affected area. 

  5. Engage in regular exercise. Ask your podiatrist about particular exercises that can help post-surgery. Patients should also try straightening the knee and bending while sitting or lying down.  

  6. Get enough rest. Getting sufficient rest is important to accelerate the recovery process. Patients who have a desk job should take a respite for a couple of weeks while those with jobs that include moderate levels of physical labor can return to work after 2-6 weeks. Patients who have a job that is physically-demanding must rest for at least 4 months before returning to work. 

In addition to these tips, patients must also attend all follow-up appointments and contact their podiatrist if there are any signs of complications. To learn more about foot and ankle surgery and determine if it’s a feasible solution for you, contact the offices of  Dr. Joel Segalman and Dr. Stephen Lazaroff at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC today. You can call our Waterbury office at (203) 755-0489 or our Newtown location at (203) 270-6724.