FOOT AND ANKLE SURGERY – POST OPERATIVE CARE

Image: University of Utah School Of Medicine 

With time, your orthopaedic condition may require more than a surface fix. With certain orthopaedic conditions, you will be required to actually have a surgical procedure done in order to ensure that the appropriate healing mechanisms are facilitated. During the current pandemic, with non-critical health conditions being diverted to places such as online apps, there will be facilitation of more urgent health care via mechanisms such as surgeries. Your surgery may be slightly delayed due to the current pandemic, but eventually you will be attended to. Once the procedure is completed, the surgery aftercare will still have to be facilitated. This article provides a few highlights of what your post operative care can be anticipated to be. Always consult with your orthopaedic surgeon to understand what to expect for your surgical process.

POST-OPERATIVE CARE 

Depending on your foot and ankle condition, your orthopaedic surgeon may prescribe you a surgical treatment. The treatment process involves a series of action steps that you and your doctor will undergo, in order to ensure that your healing is at its optimum. 

Ideally, you’ll undergo an examination that will identify your condition. Depending on the severity of the condition, you’ll be prescribed a surgery. After surgery, there is a healing period. Depending on your procedure, healing time may range from a few weeks, to a few months of extensive treatment. 

This article will focus on the healing process for a Total Ankle Replacement. This procedure is one of the more extensive services that your orthopaedic surgeon may perform. Once a surgery is performed, the treatment process is actually taken in stages. 

Stage 1: Limited mobility for the first two weeks after surgery to facilitate wound healing after incision. For six weeks a surgical boot or splint will be worn by the patient to assist with mobility. 

Stage 2: This stage of the journey involves restoration of mobility. Towards the latter period of the healing process, physical therapy sessions will be incorporated into the treatment to facilitate full healing and mobility. Overall healing will vary according to age and health, and the factors and time frames will be discussed with your orthopaedic surgeon.

AT HOME POST SURGICAL CARE

Once the surgery is completed, the next phases of the process involve at home care. Before the surgery, your orthopaedic surgeon will let you know what items you’ll need to have on hand to ensure that you have the optimum care at home. Limit your driving during the healing process, and arrange for someone to drive you to any critical activities such as for doctor visits and physical therapy. Ideally, you will have purchased these items before you actually have the surgery performed. This will save you from having to gather items post the surgery. Life is easier when you are prepared. 

The surgical procedure requires you to ensure that the following are in place, in order to simulate the hospital environment. With limited mobility, it will be key to ensure that as a patient, there is ready access to amenities such as: 

  1. Kitchen: Since mobility will be limited, it will be ideal for you to be in a bedroom near to your kitchen. If your home is split level, if your meals can be brought to you by your spouse or children, that can also help to keep the feet still so that you can heal. 
  2. Restroom: If you have an ensuite, this is ideal since the bathroom will be a few steps away from your bed. 

ITEMS YOU’LL NEED FOR POST SURGICAL CARE

  1. Anti-inflammatory Treatments: The healing process takes time, and there are a few things that you can do to facilitate the healing of your ankle. Post surgery, there may be some minor swelling, which you can treat at home with some prescribed treatments or anti-inflammatories such as Tylenol or Advil. 
  2. A Foot rest or Pillows to elevate the feet above the heart while you are resting. 
  3. Crutches, Boots  or Splints for Mobility: These are critical for weight management after surgery. 

As with all healing processes, the healing times will vary, but your doctor will ensure that you have the appropriate healing plan. Your health is your wealth. If the post operative care is as outlined, you’ll be well on your way to a full life after completion. To your health! 

Reference: 

  1. Rothman Orthopaedic Institute: https://rothmanortho.com/stories/news-and-blog/how-to-prepare-for-recovery-time-for-total-ankle-replacement

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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