Post-surgical success requires that the patient play a significant role in the healing process. Different things affect healing from foot surgery, but what a patient does during the recovery period is the most critical. Here are a few tips to improve the chance of post-foot-surgery recovery.
Follow the Post-Surgical Orders From the Doctor
Foot surgery recovery doesn’t happen overnight. It takes patience and the ability to follow the doctor’s orders. The doctor and staff will provide specific guidelines to follow as the foot heals.
The post-surgical program is structured to set a path that enhances healing. Each task has a purpose, so follow the instructions precisely and in the right order, including elevating the foot and how to clean the surgical site. If any order is confusing, call the office to get clarification.
Be Prepared for Downtime
One of the most essential parts of healing is allowing the body to rest — that may take some preplanning, though. Set up a recovery station that has everything necessary within reach like:
- The TV remote
- Food and drink
- Pillows to elevate the foot
- Crutches, cane or whatever mobility aid the doctor assigns for you
When it becomes necessary to move to go to the bathroom or bed, for instance, create a clear path. Remove throw or area rugs and clear furniture out of the way. For those who live alone, it might be necessary to get a family member or friend to run for supplies or to check in several times a day and bring nutritious meals. Proper nutrition aids in the healing process.
Monitor the Incision(s)
Invasive surgery requires the doctor to create one or more wounds to complete the procedure. Patients should get in the habit of checking these wounds for signs of infection such are redness, swelling and drainage.
Infection can present in other ways, as well. Patients who run a fever or have the chills may have a post-surgical complication. Call the doctor with any questions regarding wound care or if there are signs of a problem.
Focus on Pain Management
It is better to keep pain under control. If it gets to a certain level, it will interfere with healing and be harder to put back in check. If given a prescription for pain medication, follow the dosage instructions. If the medication is marked “as needed for pain,” take it as soon as you feel any discomfort. If it becomes unbearable or changes in intensity, call the doctor’s office.
Be Prepared for Post-Op Emotions
Surgery of any kind takes a toll emotionally. Patients should be ready to experience a wide range of post-op emotions. There may be stress due to downtime from work or school. The limited mobility can cause anxiety and frustration. The need to rely on others can lead to feelings of helplessness and being a burden.
Negative emotions have an impact on the body and can slow healing. Find ways to stay busy like reading books, binge-watching a favorite TV show or doing crosswords. The distraction can help ease those feelings. If feeling overwhelmed, talk it out with a friend or loved one.
Foot surgery works to improve foot health and mobility, but recovery is often the hardest part. Following some common-sense advice will improve healing and encourage surgical success.