What To Expect After Foot & Ankle Surgery (non-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 or by MD. 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.

Dressings / Bandages

If you have a large bulky dressing around your ankle then do not put any weight on the extremity. 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 depending on quality ).

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. Elevation will help with to reduce pain and swelling which also improves the ability to heal the surgical incisions.  Routine antibiotics are not necessary post operatively but if fevers over 101 degrees should occur notify the MD on call for further assistance.

Moving Around

You will need to stay off your surgical extremity. It may help to have a walker, crutches , wheelchair or a knee scooter. Do not put any weight on your surgical side as it may lead to an unsuccessful outcome.