In an ideal world, every foot and ankle condition could be treated with conservative care. (Actually, there wouldn’t be any lower limb issues in an ideal world!) In our real world, though, sometimes surgery is a necessary or preferred option. Generally speaking, no one ever looks forward to surgery, but the good news here is that you are in expert hands with Dr. Melhuish.
There are various procedures she may need to perform for you, and it is important to consider what needs to happen both before and after your surgery. With this in mind, let’s take a look at pre- and postsurgical care for foot or ankle surgery.
Before we start performing your surgical procedure, there are several actions you will need to take, including:
- Consultation – Together, we will discuss your surgery and make sure you understand what is going to happen and what you need to do beforehand. This page provides some guidelines, but it is not a substitute for actually talking with Dr. Melhuish about your surgery.
- Making plans – You will need to arrange transportation, time off of work, and possibly child care, depending on your specific circumstances. Transportation is especially important, so make sure you have a friend or loved one who is able to take you to and from your procedure.
- Wear loose clothing – This is an often overlooked matter, but tight clothing can be difficult to put back on over surgical sites. Instead, opt for comfortable, loose clothes that will not cause pain when you get dressed before leaving.
The actual procedure, of course, is an important part of the whole process, but you do not want to underestimate the importance of postsurgical care. This stage is essential for your safety and optimal recovery. We will provide specific postoperative instructions, and your ability to heal correctly will depend on you following them, but some general considerations include:
- Rest – Surgery is a big deal. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t take as many measures as possible to avoid using it as a treatment option. Since it is, though, you will need to give your body the chance to perform its natural healing processes after the procedure.
- Medication – Depending on your procedure and situation, we will likely recommend or prescribe some form of medication for you. The pain relieving properties of medicine certainly plays a role, but the anti-inflammatory ones can be immensely helpful in assisting with your recovery.
- Restricted movement – In time, the amount and range of movement will increase, but we may recommend you limit how much you move the affected area for at least a certain period of time.
- Assistive devices – We may issue or prescribe braces, casts, or other devices to help you keep weight off of the repaired, but still allow you to be mobile.
- Physical therapy – As you recover, it will be necessary for you to gradually ease into physical movement. To that end, physical therapy is a key part of postsurgical care. Stretching and strengthening exercises are essential for making sure your movement is as natural as possible.
- Hygienic practices – The potential for infection is one of the risks of surgery. This risk doesn’t end once the procedure is completed, though. It is essential that you keep any insertion points clean to reduce your infection risk.
- Follow-up appointments – Don’t worry, you’re not on your own after the surgery! We will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and ensure everything is mending like it should.
As we noted earlier, our hope is always that we will be able to treat your foot or ankle condition using nonsurgical methods. In the event surgery is necessary, you can take comfort in the fact that our team at Sierra Foot & Ankle has your health in mind when we preform surgical procedures. Even better, we are experienced, skilled, and ready to help you overcome your medical problem. Give us a call at (775) 783-8037 for more information or use our online form to connect with our Gardnerville and Carson City offices.