Unlike almost every other type of surgery, even minor foot surgery can lead to long periods of recovery, because of the delicacy of the area and the amount of pressure your feet go through even in the most regular days.
Because the procedures involved in can vary so wildly, it’s hard to give a definite answer about what to expect after foot surgery. In general, it’s always worth talking to your surgeon about any specific concerns you might have, and what to expect when it comes to recovery from foot surgery and any complications that you might have.
In the mean time, here’s what to expect after foot surgery in general.
Recovery From Foot Surgery: What to Expect
- After your surgery, it is incredibly unlikely that you will be able to walk. Your doctor will tell you if you are going to be able to walk, so make sure you have a way to get home, whether that’s a designated driver or a taxi pre-booked.
- They will give you post-op instructions regarding rest, medication and exercise. Follow them to the letter.
- With almost all foot surgery, expect to be out of commission for at least two weeks after the surgery.
- If you have a cast or bandage, keep it dry and don’t change it. It also means no baths. Some casts or bandages may allow showers. As always, ask your doctor.
- If you already take medication, you should be safe to resume taking it, unless otherwise.
- If given some pain medication, take it as instructed.
- Eat regularly. If possible, increase fibre intake slightly to account for constipation that can occur from pain medication.
- If you experience any pain or other issues, contact your doctor immediately.
Warning signs that you should contact your doctor:
- Severe pain that can’t be relieved with ice, pain medication or elevation
- Severe calf pain, chest pain or shortness of breath
- A fever over 38.5 degrees Celsius.
- Lymph node tenderness in the groin
- Reactions to any prescribed medication
The First Two Weeks
For the first two weeks after foot surgery, expect to do little more than rest. You’re going to be almost immobile, so friends and family will have to do tasks like shopping for you, but you should be okay with basic care tasks like going to the loo.
Expect to feel far more tired than usual. Your body has been through a lot, and it will be expending a massive amount of energy healing the surgery, so if you feel exhausted, don’t despair. It’s entirely reasonable.
Try and resume regular activity. Rest when you can, eat healthily, and make sure you follow any physiotherapy exercises given.
Keep as much weight off of your leg, and when possible, keep your foot elevated.
Swelling After Foot Surgery
All surgery causes swelling, because of the effect it has on the body, so expect some swelling on or around the area where you have had surgery.
The best thing you can do for swelling is kept your foot elevated, take your pain medication and ice it when you have your cast or bandages off.
If you experience excessive swelling, or you’re overly worried or feel unnecessary tenderness or pain in your foot, make sure you speak to your doctor.
With modern surgery, the risk of infection is incredibly minor, and if anything occurs, it is usually manageable with antibiotics.
With foot infections, there is a slim possibility of bone infections, which can be more dangerous, generally requiring a stay in the hospital and further complications.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Because of the immobility of the leg, there is a risk of DVT when recovering from foot surgery, but it is manageable with exercises. If you are at particular risk, your doctor will tell you.
Your doctor will tell you your expected healing time, but every person is different, and your healing time could be less or more than normal.
It is caused by ill health, and can also be a complication of smoking. Typically, resolve the problem through further time or rest. But in the worst cases, it may require further surgery.
Foot surgery recovery is not as bad as it’s made out to be. In most cases, the worst thing you will face is the boredom of sitting at home unable to do anything for days on end, and an itchy and possibly aching foot.
As always, if you have specific concerns, the best thing to do is always speak to your doctor. If you’ve got any questions in the meantime, though, leave them in the comments, and we’ll try to do what we can, to help your recovery from foot surgery go as swiftly and painlessly as possible!