There are different types of ankle and foot surgery, from bunion surgery to tendon or ligament repair, but they all have one thing in common: you’ll need some time to recover before you can return to your normal, day-to-day activities.
All of the experts at Ankle & Foot Associates want you to have a smooth and speedy recovery following your ankle or foot surgery. In order to help you do that, we’ve put together this list of seven tips for planning your recovery at home.
1. Know what to expect
Any surgery is somewhat traumatic for your body. Your ankles and feet are important in your day-to-day activities, so you need to be prepared for some downtime. To set yourself up for a successful outcome and quick recovery, you should begin familiarizing yourself with what you’re going to need after surgery at least a week before your procedure.
You should read your post-surgery instructions a couple of times, and note any questions that occur while you’re reading the first time. During your second read-through, make a list of supplies you’re going to need.
2. Gather your supplies
Once you’ve made a list of things you need, you can start getting them together so you’ll have what you need in the days and weeks following surgery.
You’ll most likely need over-the-counter pain relievers, antibiotics so that you can avoid infection, reusable ice packs to help decrease swelling and help with pain, and supplies for covering your cast while you bathe. Waterproof cast covers are available, or you may opt for plastic bags and medical tape; just make sure they’re easily available when you come home.
3. Set up a recovery space
You’re not going anywhere at all for the first couple of weeks after surgery. You’ll need to keep your foot elevated throughout the day. So what’s the best way to relax, keep weight off your ankle or foot, and keep yourself occupied? Create a space that is comfortable and well-supplied.
Would you rather spend most of your time awake in a chair or in your bed? Make sure you have a way to elevate your foot wherever you are. Remember, “elevated” means higher than your heart, so you may need extra pillows.
Other supplies include your television remote, your phone and a charger, glasses, reading materials, and anything else you use often. You’ll also need a surface for setting beverages and meals.
4. You need a wider path than usual
Although your first couple of weeks will be spent in your recovery space, you will need to move around for trips to the bathroom or between bed and your recovery area. Maneuvering through your house is going to require more space than usual.
Remember, you’ll probably be on crutches. Does your living room have enough space? You may need to move some furniture out of your recovery area temporarily. You should also evaluate whether any lamps, rugs, or other tripping hazards are present.
5. Do you have stairs?
Even if you just have 3 or 4 steps up to your front door, you may well need to navigate some steps post-surgery. A few stairs probably won’t be too difficult; but if you have a longer staircase, you need to give careful consideration as to how you’re going to handle it.
If your bedroom is upstairs and your recovery area is downstairs, can you set up a temporary place to sleep downstairs? If at all possible, you should try to stay on one floor as you recover.
6. You’re going to need to eat
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many people forget to stock their pantry and refrigerator before surgery. Whatever else you’re dealing with, make sure you get to the grocery store one more time before your procedure.
Try to have enough supplies on hand for two weeks. You may even want to consider preparing and freezing some meals so that it’s simple to have a delicious meal later, when you probably won’t feel much like cooking.
7. Tap into your network
Depending on your living situation, you may need to ask a friend or neighbor to check in with you in the days right after your surgery. Choose one or two people you trust to be reliable, and let them know what’s going on.
Think about how you’ll get to your follow up appointments as well, and consider any unforeseen errands that may come up. You may need to ask someone to help you with specific chores.
We at Ankle & Foot Associates will do everything we can to help you recover and enjoy a positive outcome. You can call us when you have concerns or questions. To learn more about what you need to do to prepare for a successful recovery, book an appointment!