With the summer heat beaming down on Greater Austin, most of the big outdoor festivals and events are on hiatus until September, while people seek daytime shelter in air-conditioned environments. If you need a foot surgery, now is the ideal time, as it will involve a few months of careful rest and rehabilitation.
Like any other part of your body, your feet and ankles will need a little TLC after an operation in order to heal properly. For the first few days, stay off your feet entirely (no weight whatsoever) and prop up your leg when sitting or lying down to above heart level. This will help you minimize pain and control swelling.
You’ll get instructions from your doctor about everything from medications to exercises to schedules for when you can perform certain tasks. Read this carefully and follow it to the letter. Have somebody else read it and keep you honest. Following these instructions is the most important aspect of a successful recovery.
In the early days, you will need to keep your bandages clean and dry—wet bandages can lead to infection. We’ll provide a cast protector for you to use during bathing; don’t use makeshift “solutions” like taped trash bags, as they won’t work. You may also have to change your bandages regularly, every couple of days, until the wound has fully healed—we’ll show you how to do this before we let you go.
The most typical course of recovery involves a few days of no weight bearing, with stitches coming out after about 2 weeks, a gradual transition back to normal activity over the course of 1-3 months, and potentially several more months of residual soreness and swelling before recovery is 100% complete. However, these estimates can vary quite a bit based on the scope of the procedure, how well you follow post-op instructions, and how much rest you’re able to give your feet throughout the process.
Take good care of your feet, and they’ll take care of you. While no one really enjoys surgery recovery—a few months of R&R always sounds better than it really is—showing your feet that extra love while they heal can really make the difference in getting you back out and about, pain free, as quickly as possible.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Keith McSpadden, Austin’s foot surgery specialist, call North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute today at 512-593-2949.