While we opt for conservative treatments whenever we can, sometimes foot or ankle surgery is the best option, or just can’t be avoided.
If you will be undergoing surgery—whether for bunions, hammertoes, neuromas, bone spur removal, deformity correction, or other needs—our office will support you before, during, and after the procedure!
Even with our help, however, additional preparation on your part will help make sure your experience goes even more smoothly and comfortably. The day of the surgery isn’t the only thing to keep in mind—there is plenty to consider in the days and weeks surrounding it as well.
Preparing for Surgery
The first and most important preparation one must make for foot and ankle surgery is accommodating for the time they will likely need to recover.
Depending on the needs of the surgery and the procedure performed, recovery time can take anywhere from a couple weeks up to half a year—or possibly longer. We will of course discuss the timeframe with you before the surgery so you have a better idea what to expect.
When preparing around a recovery timeframe, it is always better to overestimate how long you may need. Many patients undergoing any type of surgery tend to do the opposite, and it tends to lead to frustrations and scheduling complications when someone is on the tail end of recovery. Besides, it’s always better to be a little extra prepared than a little less!
You will have needs during your recovery period but may not always be able or willing to do what you need to acquire them at that time. Take time before the surgery to create an inventory and stock up now. Tasks might include:
- Stocking your pantry with food you can prepare in-home. We’re not saying you won’t be able to go out and eat now and then, but saving yourself repeated trips to the grocery store will be a significant help.
- Creating a backlog of entertainment. Preventing yourself from going stir-crazy is more important than you might expect! If there are books you have meaning to get to, Netflix shows you’ve been wanting to binge, or any low-key projects you’ve been wanting to invest your time into, this is your chance.
- Making your home easier to navigate. Some parts of your daily routine around your home might become more difficult during your recovery. Give yourself as much convenience as you can by cleaning up and moving any obstacles that could get in your way moving from room to room.
- Preparing your bedroom and bathroom. If your bed is upstairs and your mobility will be limited, consider setting up a place to sleep in a downstairs room instead. Stools and other assistance tools might also be helpful in your bathroom (we can help you determine exactly what you might need). Having night lights will also be a huge help when you need them.
- Establishing your main “lair.” If you will be spending significant time in one place (e.g. a couch or bed), make sure it will have easy access to what you need. Can you comfortably access a computer there? (Buy a rolling stand or table, if not.). Will you be able to elevate your foot easily, when needed? Will your back be supported? Make sure you will be comfortable before your surgery.
- Processing a temporary handicap placard, if needed. If you will be using your vehicle during your recovery period (and that’s only when it is cleared for you to do so!), we can help you process your temporary placard so that you already have it before your surgery. Trust us; you’ll want this beforehand.
There will also be specific recommendations before your surgery, including medications you will need to take or avoid. Please make sure to follow these recommendations specifically to avoid any complications or delays in the surgery.
After surgery, it is common to have swelling and pain. The worst of it should be over within 3-4 days following the procedure.
However, there is still much you may need to do in terms of managing your pain, swelling, and just basically yourself during recovery. Overall swelling may still take weeks or months to fully subside, so taking care of it even after the worst is over is still important.
Methods in addition to medications may be recommended to help you manage pain and swelling. These may include keeping your foot elevated above your heart (refer back to equipping your “lair” for this!) and icing the area.
Physical therapy might also be part of your recovery process. You may be taught how to use certain devices to increase your mobility during your recovery period, as well as exercises that can help strengthen and condition yourself to return to full strength once you are fully healed.
The company of family and friends can be a massive help, both physically and mentally. If you live alone, try to arrange for someone you know to spend the first few days after the surgery with you, or at least check in regularly.
We’re in Your Corner
We know surgery is rarely something anyone looks forward to, but the end results are what makes it worth going through.
Whether you’re coming to us from Rockville Center, Massapequa, or locations beyond, our goal is to provide the best and most effective care for your individual needs. If that happens to involve surgery, we will walk you through the entire process so you can make your foot health choices in ultimate confidence.
Would you like to make an appointment? Call us at (516) 804-9038 or fill out our online contact form to reach out to a member of our friendly staff.