Dakota Foot & Ankle Clinic Blog
Posts for tag: Surgery
Avoiding Common Obstacles after Foot Surgery
I frequently tell patients that foot surgery gets a bad rap. First off, patients have a hard time fathoming staying off their feet for such a prolonged period. Secondly, a lot of people hear horror stories of how painful foot surgery is. In all reality, noncompliance is often the underlying denominator for a really painful post-op period. Of value are the following tips to help the post op period go seamless.
1. Swelling/Pain. Icing and elevating is probably the single most important part of your post-operative period. The body’s natural reaction to something that has been injured/operated on is an initial inflammatory period causing blood to rush to the operative extremity. This sequentially causes swelling and a grueling throbbing pain. Elevation helps defy gravity and reduces the amount of blood flow/swelling to the operative foot. Icing also helps with the amount of blood flow and inflammation to the foot by constricting the blood vessels. If icing and elevation instructions are not abided by, you are likely to end up with a constricting bandage and a swollen, painful foot. We have found that ice machines have been a life saver for our patients, allowing for less leaks, eliminating the number of times of getting up for ice and improved compliance and less swelling as a result!
2. Sleep. Often times there will be a period of sleeping in a splint or a cast boot which makes it difficult to find a comfortable position as you toss and turn and get irreversibly stuck in your sheets and blankets. One trick that has been found to help is placing a box under the sheets & blankets that you can place your foot inside allowing for you to move a little bit more freely.
3. Mobility. Getting around after surgery can be tough, especially for the procedures that require non-weight bearing. Often time crutches can be very wearing when it comes to the amount of energy they require to use, not to mention wearing on the skin too. A lot of people will complain of armpit pain and sometimes blisters of the hands. One way to reduce the friction is to cut up a pool noodle and place it over the handles and arm rests. One way to avoid crutches all together, however is to try a scooter or the new innovative IWALK. Both require a sense of balance, but may allow for easier mobility.
4. Bathing. In most cases, the surgical bandage should not get wet the first week post-operatively. I specifically remember, after breaking my arm, fiddling with garbage bags and rubber bands that failed me in the end. Ultimately, the easiest way to avoid wet bandages is by sponge bathing the first week though I know this isn’t an option for some people. The next best option is to place a bag over the bandage and wind an ace wrap over the top of the bag, though you can also purchase cast protectors that have proven to be the next best thing since sliced bread.
Foot surgery can be a lot more tolerable by avoiding common obstacles. Keep these helpful hints in mind to allow for a smoother/quicker recovery. If you are thinking about foot surgery, Contact Us to schedule an appointment to find out if it is right for you.
Foot Surgery Preparation
No one realizes how much they depend on their feet to do activities of daily living until they are laid up after foot surgery. Preparation for surgery is instrumental to ensure your recovery is successful and more tolerable. Having had foot surgery in the past, I can vouch for how important it is to make sure everything is set up in advance. Here are a few tips I have to offer you:
You will not want to leave the house (nor should you) for the first week or so nor will you want to be up and about. Your foot will be the first thing to remind you of this as blood will rush to the operative site and cause swelling and a throbbing pain when you are up. To avoid this there are a few things you can do in advance.
1. Meal plan, prep and purchase groceries in advance. Don’t forget to purchase ice for post op swelling!
2. Prepare activities to occupy your time whether it is books, movies, sewing supplies, or hobbies that can be done while you’re reclined. I really enjoyed coloring when I was laid up. It helped pass the time and was actually relaxing, besides they have some really neat adult coloring books these days!
3. Arrange your house accordingly. Move any objects in the way of getting to and from the couch/bed. Remove any rugs that may be a fall hazard or things in a narrow hallway that you won’t want to dodge with crutches, walker, knee scooter or wheelchair. If your bedroom isn’t on the main level, you may want to consider bringing a mattress to the main level until you have the go ahead to go up and down stairs. Purchasing a removable shower head may be beneficial. Oftentimes, we ask that you don’t get the foot wet for a couple weeks. A shower head helps you more easily direct where the water is sprayed. Another thing that may be beneficial is a shower chair to avoid any falls while you are supposed to be off your foot.
4. Set up your own little recovery nook. Have everything beside you that you could possibly need including the remote, cell phone and charger, pillows for elevation, snacks, Kleenexes, medication, pen and paper, etc.
Maybe this list sounds like overkill, but you will soon find that you’re thanking yourself for preparing beforehand! One more thing, if you have that luxury, don’t forget the little bell beside your recliner so you can be waited on hand and FOOT!