Advice after foot & ankle surgery
It is normal to feel slightly lethargic for a couple of days after surgery if you have had a general anaesthetic. This feeling should soon subside.
You may notice swelling to your feet once you start sitting and walking. This is a normal response following surgery but can cause discomfort. Although you can mobilise per your post-operative instructions, It is important to keep your leg elevated as much as possible for 6 weeks following surgery. This reduces post operative discomfort and reduces the risk of developing complications. Your weight bearing status will be confirmed with you after your operation. To know how much you should be standing/walking in the initial stages, a good rule of thumb is the 3 T's: Tea, Toast & Toilet.
Special dressings will be applied in sterile conditions in the operating theatre after your surgery. These should be kept dry and undisturbed until your first postoperative visit. At this visit dressings will be taken down and sutures removed. Your incision sites will be checked and light dressings may be applied.
Once incision sites have healed fully, it is ok to get them wet. If you have temporary wires protruding through the skin, it is better to keep these areas dry. There are special water protectors available (www.limboproducts.co.uk) to help with this.
When you should return to work is largely up to you. If you are able to elevate your leg at work then you may return after 2 weeks. If you need to do a lot of walking, carrying or driving then our advice is to wait 6 weeks before returning. We can issue you with a medical certificate for your employers if necessary
You can return to driving as soon as you decide it is safe to do so. This means that you should be able to perform emergency manoeuvres like an emergency stop without significant pain. You should seek advice from your car insurance company before driving. It is prudent to try a test drive with someone on quiet roads in the first instance to help you decide. If you have an automatic car and surgery is to your left foot only, driving should be safe after a week. In all other instances, 6 weeks is the typical time most people feel safe to start driving again. There are some procedures where driving can recommence earlier and this can be discussed after your surgery.
It is normal to have some postoperative discomfort following your surgery although most people don't! but this should not be excessive. Please don't suffer in silence - we are here to help you. Prior to discharge, make sure you have pain killers supplied. If you run out or if you need something stronger, your GP can help. You can also contact Goring Hall Hospital on 01903 506 699.
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