What to Do Before [and After!] Foot Surgery
If you need foot or ankle surgery, it can be for a variety of reasons. You may need a bunion correction, tendon repair, a plantar fascia release… the list is extensive.
But no matter what type of surgery you undergo, this much is true: you need to be prepared!
Now, when most people think about surgery preparation, they tend to consider the things that need to happen immediately before their procedure. Am I allowed to eat before a procedure? Should I bring specific socks or shoes? These are, of course, important questions to ask.
But the effects of surgery do not end right after the operation is complete. Your body must also recover from the procedure, and a full recovery may take weeks and sometimes months depending on what needs to be done.
So when preparing for foot or ankle surgery, we help patients determine what best to do both before and after a procedure. The decisions you make and the tools available to you can not only play a role in how comfortable you are during the post-operative period, but how quick and effective your recovery actually is as well.
While the exact best actions to take for surgery preparation may change depending on your circumstances, there are some general items to consider. We will always happily discuss the best plans for you, as well as address any questions you may have (so please don’t hesitate to prepare a list of any answers you may want before coming to see us).
Preparing Before Foot Surgery
The best time to think about your recovery period is at least a few days before your scheduled surgery. You don’t want to be in a rush to make sure things are ready the night before – that’s just too stressful, and you might have other matters to concentrate on at the time!
There are a number of items to consider, but many of them fall under the goal of reducing risks and limiting unnecessary stress and strain on your body as it heals:
- Tidy up. You definitely don’t want to be navigating narrow hallways in a cast or crutches, when one small misstep could send you sprawling. Make sure that all walking paths you use in your home are free and clear of any hazards.
- Set up a downstairs sleeping area. If navigating stairs will not be easy for you, you might need to relocate your sleeping area from an upstairs bedroom to a downstairs room. Make sure it’s a comfortable place where you won’t mind spending time, and that it contains most or all the things you may commonly want or need (e.g. TV, phone charger, pillows, laptop, etc.)
- Prepare meals (or prepare for meals) beforehand. Eating and drinking regularly is essential for helping your body recover. Freeze some healthy meals in advance to give yourself some easy-to-prepare options. Getting some delivery isn’t terrible, either – unless you’re relying solely on takeout.
- Prepare some ice packs. Having a cold source ready to relieve pain and inflammation can be a blessing when you need it most. Standard cold packs are great, but some frozen ice bags can also work. Whatever you use, do not apply the source of cold directly to your skin, which can cause damage. Always wrap a warm, dry, thin cloth around it first, and do not use longer than 15-20 minutes at a time.
- Make sure you have clear bathroom access. We don’t believe we need to tell you why. But in addition to natural functions, make sure you have easy access to your toothbrush (if you usually get ready upstairs), and other essentials such as extra toilet paper, in case you need them. It can also be a huge help to have a night light or two set up on your route to the bathroom!
Enlist Some Extra Help
There is plenty you can do on your own to prepare. But you can’t always do it all alone!
Consider when and for what you may need the help of a friend or loved one. You’ll definitely need someone to drive you to and from the surgery, but you might also need someone to help you bathe, prepare some meals, or run various errands.
The first few days or weeks after surgery, when you are still adjusting to a routine, are the most important times to have someone around to even just check in on you from time to time. Make sure to arrange for someone to provide support well in advance, if needed.
We’re With You All the Way
It’s true that there’s a lot to pay attention to when it comes to pre- and post-operation preparedness. The general tips here don’t take into account specific medications, physical therapy, equipment, or other items you may need for your specific situation. Additional treatments such as PRP therapy may also be recommended to help you recover even faster.
But don’t worry. We will be here to help you throughout your entire experience. Our care for you doesn’t end as soon as you leave the office. We are accessible throughout every patient’s recovery to answer questions and provide any follow-up that may be needed.
Schedule an appointment with us at our Chandler office by calling (480) 963-9000 or by filling out our online contact form. We look forward to seeing how we can best help you overcome foot and ankle troubles and get back to doing the things you love as effectively as possible.