What to expect after Foot and Ankle Surgery (weight bearing )

Pain Control

Depending on the type of surgery you had you will either get a popliteal block ( numb from the knee down) or an ankle block ( numb from the ankle down ). Both types are used to help control post-operative pain. They will last between 12-24 hrs.

You will be given a prescription for pain meds- If you go to sleep the night of the procedure and the block is still working you will want to take a pain pill in case the block wears off in the middle of the night. Once you start to experience the first sign the block is wearing off ( tingling and the return of sensation ) you need to take a pain pill because the pain will come on rapidly. You can take 1-2 of the prescribed pills every 4-6 hrs as needed. Reduce dosing as soon as you can comfortably do so. Constipation can happen with narcotics so take 2 tbs of Milk of Magnesia daily or other natural laxatives to prevent problems. If nausea or itching occurs from the pain medicine you should take the Vistaril ( hydroxyzine)  or other anti-nausea medicine that was prescribed.

You may take 600-800mg of Ibuprofen  (3-4  200mg pills) every 8 hrs as needed for addition pain control  for a few days…….if you are not allergic to it or on a blood thinner( Warfarin, Eliquis, Xarelto, Pradaxa, Lovenox)

Blood Thinner

Take one baby aspirin, 81mg, daily for blood clot prevention if you are not on any other blood thinners and you are not allergic to aspirin.  If prescribed Eliquis pills or Lovenox injections then take as directed on the prescription. If you are on one prescribed by your medical doctor follow their instructions. It is recommended to take a blood thinner if you will not be walking on the surgical leg however most times it is not necessary if you are allowed to walk on it.

Dressings / Bandages

If you have a small dressing around your foot you will need to remove the outer ACE wrap within 6 hours of surgery or you will start to hurt unnecessarily and may cause injury. If may bleed within the dressing but should soon stop. If some blood penetrates through then reinforce the dressings with more pressure around it. If it continue to bleed through then notify us so that we may better assist and offer suggestions. Do not get the dressings wet. When showering wrap a towel around the dressings and a plastic bag around everything to ensure no water gets in. They make professional cast/ dressings covers which can be found at your local pharmacy, Walmart stores or at our facility ( $11-$40 at various location).

If toes turn blue or are cold or have intense pain with gentle movements then call the MD on call for immediate assistance.

Be sure to elevate the surgical extremity as much as possible initially but may be reduced over the next several days.

Moving around

You are generally allowed to walk in a walking boot provided either before or after surgery. You don’t need to sleep in the boot but should sleep in a post op shoe ( also provided to you post operatively). The post op shoe can be used for very short trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night but should not be used for normal activities. Some minor procedures only require the post op shoe for protection – that information will be dictated by the procedure and the MD will let you know if that applies to you.