By Dr. Matthew Weintraub, DPM

If you are facing the possibility of foot or ankle surgery anytime soon, or even if you are considering a procedure in your podiatrist’s office, here are some helpful tips that you should know before and after the procedure.

When you are considering any surgical procedure, including foot and ankle surgery, you will need specific tests or examinations before surgery to encourage a successful surgical outcome. Prior to surgery, the podiatric surgeon will review your medical history and medical conditions. Specific diseases, illnesses, allergies, past surgeries, and current medications need to be evaluated. Other tests that help evaluate your health status may be ordered including blood studies, urinalysis, EKG, X-rays, MRI’s, CT scans, a blood flow study (to better evaluate the circulatory status of the lower extremity), and a biomechanical examination.

A consultation with another medical specialist may be advised or requested by your surgeon to optimize your pre-operative status.

The type of foot or ankle surgery performed will determine the length and kind of aftercare required to assure that your recovery from surgery is rapid and uneventful. The basics of all post-operative care involve to some degree each of the following: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Bandages, splints, surgical shoes, casts, crutches, or canes may be necessary to ensure a safe recovery after foot or ankle surgery. A satisfactory recovery must include carefully following your post-operative instructions.

Surgery of the rearfoot and/or ankle requires especially close care following surgery. To assure a rapid and easy recovery, it is important to follow your podiatric surgeon’s advice and post-operative instructions carefully. All of the same post-operative instructions apply for rearfoot surgery, but you may have issues that are more complicated. For example, your podiatric surgeon will determine if and when you can bear weight on the foot and ankle that had the surgery.

By following the advise of your podiatric surgeon, you can ensure that your recovery after foot or ankle surgery, regardless of the type, will be uneventful. Take the time you’ve been given to recover appropriately and remember that a good book can help you through your recovery. Planning your recovery, which may include physical therapy, is of utmost importance. The recovery process is paramount in the overall results you gain from surgery. Remember, communicating your goals with
your surgeon is advised prior to undergoing any surgical procedure.