How to Care for Your Feet After Foot Surgery

by | May 4, 2020

 

Foot surgery, to be sure, is always a last resort—chosen when no other option can realistically get you the results you need. And during this time of uncertainty due to COVID-19, we’re being even more cautious about determining whether a procedure is truly necessary, or whether it can be delayed.

However, the truth is that sometimes foot surgery really is the only option, and you can’t kick the can down the road any further.

If this is your situation, the first important decision you have to make is deciding on a surgeon with the training, experience, and wisdom to do an excellent job. (We hope you choose us.)

But here’s something else you should know: how you care for your feet after your foot surgery can sometimes be just as important as the skill of your surgeon. Sometimes even more so!

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Post-Surgical Home Care

If you don’t take your aftercare seriously, even in the best-case scenario it means that your recovery will probably take longer than it needs to. But it could also lead to a much higher risk of complications like infection, scarring, and re-occurrence of the initial problem.

But don’t worry! Our service to you doesn’t end when you get off the operating table! We are here to help guide you through the recovery process, so you can get the best possible outcome.

Follow Your Post-Surgical Instructions Carefully

This is the most important rule. If there’s only one thing you learn from this blog, it should be this one.

Why?

Here’s the deal. The recovery and rehab period is really critical, and it can take a lot of time depending on your situation.

During that timeframe, it can be very tempting to “cheat” once in a while, especially if you’re a couple weeks in and your recovery seems to be going pretty well. And if you cheat once or twice—and seem no worse for the wear—it becomes even easier to justify a third, fourth, or fifth time to yourself.

But here’s the deal. Just because your pain seems to be tolerable doesn’t necessarily mean that your body has healed. And each time you disregard your post-surgical instructions, you’re running a real risk of undoing all the progress you’ve already made.

When we put together a rehab plan, you have to trust us that we aren’t just winging it. We’ve been down this road with patients many, many times—and while each situation is unique, we do have a really good idea of what your body needs to make a complete and safe recovery. We wouldn’t ask you to do something you didn’t want to do unless we were convinced it was truly necessary.

And of course, if you ever feel unsure about your rehab plan—whether you just have a question, or aren’t sure something is working—you can always call us and ask.

Create a Suitable Environment for Healing

So beyond following the specific guidelines we provide to you, there are many other things you can do at home to aid in your healing and reduce the risk of accidental setbacks. Here are a few of our top suggestions.

  • Stock Up. Sound familiar? Due to COVID-19, we’ve all been asked to minimize the amount of trips we need to take for groceries and other consumable supplies. If you’re recovering from a foot surgery, that’s even more reason to avoid venturing outside the home (and putting your foot at risk.) You don’t have to be a hoarder, but you don’t want to have to go out to get things regularly, either.
  • Coordinate with caregivers. Especially during the early days after foot surgery, it’s important that you’ll have someone with you who can drive you home and provide frequent assistance. This might be trickier than usual given the current pandemic, especially if you don’t have someone who already lives in your household who can provide that assistance. If you must arrange for someone outside your household to care for you, please take extra precautions, including wearing masks and washing hands frequently. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
  • Keep essentials close at hand. You aren’t going to be doing much bending, reaching, or getting on step stools for a while, so make sure all important items (food, clothes, appliances, etc.) are easy to reach.
  • Avoid the stairs (as much as possible). It may be wise to set up a sleeping area on the main floor for at least the early days and weeks of your recovery, so you don’t have to try to get up and down as often (if at all).
  • Prep as much as possible beforehand. Make some freezer meals, do all your laundry, set out a few weeks’ worth of clothes; anything you can do to make going about your day as easy as possible can be helpful, especially in those first few days and weeks after surgery.
  • Keep yourself sane. This is another skillset you are probably already building for yourself due to COVID-19. Pick out some books or movies, start a puzzle or video game, video chat with friends and family—whatever you need to do to keep your brain engaged.
foot surgery

Connect with Us If You Have Any Problems

Despite your best efforts, there’s always a chance that you’ll run into some unexpected challenges after a procedure. And when that happens, it’s important to connect with us right away to make sure you have all the instructions and guidance you need.

Again, due to COVID-19, you may (understandably) be nervous about adding extra out-of-the-house doctor visits to your agenda. But the good news is that we are now offering telemedicine, and it works really, really well for the vast majority of post-surgical follow-up appointments.

During a telemedicine appointment, you don’t even have to leave your house. You just need a smartphone (or a computer with a webcam) and an Internet connection. Dr. Elenburg can examine your surgical site remotely, talk to you about your experience and symptoms, and answer any questions you might have about your home care.

Learn more about telemedicine with Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma here.

Of course, if you only have a few minor questions, you might not even need telemedicine—you can just call our office and ask.

But whatever you do, don’t just wing it! We are here to help, and ensure you stay on the straight and narrow path to a speedy recovery. Give us a call today at (405) 418-2676, or fill out our online contact form to request an appointment or ask us a question.

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Oklahoma City Office:
609 W Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73114

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