Preparing for Foot Surgery

Foot Surgery

So, you’ve got a foot surgery coming up. The date has been circled on the calendar. You’ve gotten your instructions from the physician about what to wear to the appointment, warning about eating or drinking after midnight, what to expect in the coming days, etc. But are you really ready?

The results of any surgery are determined not only by the skill of the surgeon, but by how well you as the patient can take care of your body through recovery and rehabilitation. Working ahead of time to prepare for your foot surgery can make the recovery period go a lot more smoothly. Here are some things to think about as you prep:

·       Do you have the help you need? Especially in the first few days or weeks, having a loved one close at hand can make a huge difference. If a spouse, son or daughter, or close friend can take a little time off from work to help you, it would be a big plus. Talk with them ahead of time so you’re sure you get the assistance you need.

·       Where are you sleeping? If your bedroom is on an upper floor, we’d recommend setting up a bed somewhere on the ground floor, as well as bringing down some clothes ahead of time. The fewer trips you have to take up and down stairs, the better.

·       Are your essentials close at hand? You’re not going to want to stretch, reach, or bend to access items while you’re healing. Everyday-use objects like dishware, clothing, towels, etc. should be moved within easy reach if they aren’t already.

·       Do you have supplies? It’s a great idea to do a big grocery run right before your surgery, and even to prep some meals beforehand and store them in the freezer. Make sure you’re stocked up on napkins, toilet paper, or any other everyday consumables. Doing so can save you a difficult trip to the store.

·       Is the clutter contained? Cords, ottomans, laundry baskets, magazine racks—anything that could present a tripping or navigational hazard should be cleaned up or put away before your surgery. You wouldn’t want them making it difficult to get around or, even worse, end up causing a second injury.

·       Can you see? Walking into a dark room with a recovering foot is a major hazard. Buy some night lights for rooms and hallways so you’re never totally in the dark. Flip on the lights before you enter the room.

We’ve said it already many times above, but we’ll say it one more time: the more you can prepare your home and plan for your needs ahead of time, the smoother your surgery recovery will go—and that can mean faster healing times and a lower risk of complications or reinjury.

To schedule your next appointment with Dr. Keith McSpadden, give our offices in Cedar Park and Round Rock, TX a call at (512) 593-2949.

Posted on October 27, 2017 .

Repairing an Achilles Tendon Rupture

If you’ve ever pulled on a large rubber band or bungee cord, you likely felt the impressive amount of energy that can be stored inside the material as it stretches. Unfortunately, one of the clearest ways to demonstrate this force is if the band becomes overloaded and fails. You often get a strong snap and the elastic receives either a debilitating tear or fully breaks into two pieces. Either way, it’s not good. An Achilles tendon rupture works in a similar fashion, only in the back of your foot and leg.

With regards to treatment for Achilles tendon ruptures, there are essentially two different paths – conservative and surgical care.

Achilles Tendon

Our recommendation as to which path we pursue will be decided based on a couple of different factors. These include such matters as your age, activity level, and the severity of the injury. These considerations can lead to one patient choosing a different approach than the one that makes the most amount of sense for you when you have a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Active, younger patients may wish to consider surgical procedures. These can usually entail an incision made in the back of the lower leg so we are able to stitch the torn tendon back together. When an Achilles tear is quite severe, we might need to use other, surrogate tendons to reinforce the repair.

For patients who are older and less active, we are more likely to recommend using conservative treatment methods. These options can include walking boots, casts, or special wedges. A boot or cast helps to immobilize the affected area, whereas a wedge can elevate the heel, thereby restricting the amount of movement for the damaged tendon and allowing it to heal properly.

Regardless as to the form of treatment used, rehabilitation is usually necessary. Often, this means using exercises to strengthen supporting leg muscles and the Achilles tendon itself.

There are some activities that can help you reduce the risk of sustaining a ruptured tendon in the first place, including:

  • Ease into activity – Increasing physical activity levels abruptly and without ramping them up increases your risk of injury. Lower the risk by beginning a new running or workout program with low levels of duration, intensity, and frequency of training sessions. Increase your intensity and duration by 10 percent (or less) every week.
  • Stretching and strengthening – Given the importance of the calf muscle in an Achilles tendon’s health, perform daily stretching. Also, use exercises that improve both the strength and flexibility of your lower legs.
  • Cross-training – Don’t rely exclusively on running or other high-impact activities in your workout program. Instead, incorporate low-impact exercises into your weekly schedule. Swimming, biking, and especially walking are all great options. At the same time, limit the amount of hill running and activities with jumping you perform.

We hope you are able to stay safe and avoid rupturing an Achilles tendon. In the event you do hear the pop in the back of your heel and experience other indicative symptoms, come see us here at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute. Call us at (512) 593-2949 for more information or to request an appointment.

Posted on October 20, 2017 and filed under Sports Injury.