Once you have met with an orthopedic surgeon or a podiatrist and have selected foot surgery as a treatment option, there are some important pre-procedure tasks to complete. By planning in advance for the day of the procedure as well as for your recovery in the days and weeks after, you will be minimizing stress and frustration and maximizing your body’s opportunity to heal.
Choose your Surgery Dates
Unless your foot surgery is an emergency situation, although most will not fall into this category, work with your orthopedic surgeon to schedule a time which is best for you. Remember you will typically need about 3 to 6 months before the swelling and sensitivity in the area is completely gone in most types of procedures and for more complex surgeries the recovery time can be up to a year.
Choosing a time when you have in-home support by friends, family members or paid caregivers is essential after foot surgery and before you can actually put weight on the foot. For many of the less complex procedures this will be several weeks to two months, but you will be able to use supportive devices to be able to get around and protect the foot in limited activities.
Before a foot surgery, preparing your home to make moving around with a walker, crutches or even a wheelchair less difficult is always an important task. Move furniture around so there are wide, clear pathways in all the rooms you will be using. Get rid of any area or throw rugs as they can pose real dangers for falls.
In preparation for foot surgery, you can also cook some meals in advance and freeze them so you don’t have to stand to prepare food for a couple of weeks. Move all your commonly used items into areas of the home which are easy to reach and don’t require bending or stretching.
Your doctor will talk to you about lifestyle changes you will need to make prior to surgery. This typically includes reviewing your current medications, including any herbal treatments or supplements, and eliminating any which may slow healing or potentially cause problems with blood clotting.
In addition, smokers will need to stop smoking as far in advance of a foot surgery as possible. Smoking will slow down healing and can result in complications during the procedure. The same is true for the use of alcohol before the procedure and during the healing process.
Your doctor will provide additional information well in advance of your foot surgery to help you prepare for recovery. Following the recommendations will help ensure your recovery stays on track, allowing you to get back to normal activities as quickly as possible.