1. Before your surgery
- Discuss any medications you are taking with your surgeon and your general practitioner to see if you need to stop any of your medication prior to surgery
- Please inform hospital staff or your surgeon if you have new cuts, abrasions or skin problems on your leg or foot since your last visit. This can pose an infection risk and may postpone the operation
- Pack sensible clothes that can slip easily onto your leg. (You will have a bandage over your foot)
- Ensure you have sensible flat footwear for the other foot
- Arrange your transport back home (You are not allowed to drive)
2. In hospital
- You will be given adequate pain relief or a prescription to ensure your comfort at home
- You will be given clear instructions for follow-up appointments
- You will usually not need to change your bandage until your first follow-up appointment following surgery. Anything different to this will be clearly explained to you.
3. What to expect first 2 weeks following surgery
- Swelling – minimise this by keeping your operated foot elevated on pillow/cushion as much as possible
- Pain – This will also be minimised by elevating your operated foot and taking painkillers as prescribed.
- Bleeding – Some ooze through the bandages is normal but if it is continual or excessive, you need to contact the clinic
- Rest – Rest as much as possible but rotate or flex your ankle will help reduce the risk of DVT
- Avoid smoking
4. What to expect for a long-term recovery
- Functional recovery time will vary for each patient. As a general rule by 3 months, there are normally very positive signs of improvement. By 6 months patients should be comfortable with activities of daily living and by 12 months the vast majority of patients will have returned to full activities
- Swelling can persist up to 12 months following foot and ankle operation.
5. Driving after surgery
- As a clinical guide, if you can stamp your feet firmly down(i.e. emergency stop) and confident about controlling your vehicle, you are potentially fit to drive. However, always check with your doctor and insurance company.
- Patients who have surgery on their left foot and drive automatic cars can potentially return to driving sooner.
6. Flying after surgery
- Contact airlines you are flying with and inform them of your post-operative recovery/plan for immobilisation/plaster cast as each airline has different policies
- It is generally not advisable to fly soon after foot surgery because your foot or ankle can swell which may adversely affect wound healing and your immobility could increase the risk of DVT in your legs.
- If in a boot/plaster cast, it is advisable to wait until they are removed and you gain your mobility.
- Should you necessary fly shortly after surgery, your surgeon may advise extra medication to reduce the risk of blood clot.