Recovering From Foot Surgery

Photo credit: soccerkrys

Getting Healed and Rehabilitated

1. Article: What to Expect After Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Surgery

This page from the Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center in Westerville, Ohio, offers a number of timelines for recovery for a variety of procedures. Bear in mind that everyone’s rate of recovery will differ, but this is a good rubric nonetheless.

 

2. PDF document: A Patient’s Guide to Preparing for Foot and Ankle Surgery

This brochure from the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in the UK gets into some good advice for post-operative self-care, beginning on page 5.

 

3. Article: At Home After Surgery

The BC Foot and Ankle Clinic in Vancouver, Canada, put together this useful checklist that covers everything from pain management to what dietary changes you might need to account for.

 

4. Forum thread: Recovering from ankle surgery: Month 3….still a few questions

OK, before you read a word more, first realize that you must take forum posts with a whole shaker of salt. These are anonymous user comments, not the suggestions from medical professionals.

That said, it’s always helpful to see what other people have gone through. Posts from others put your own recovery in context, and they provide an outlet for sympathy and understanding.

 

5. PDF document: General Guidelines for Recovery After Foot or Ankle Surgery

The Ohio State University Medical Center’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has a printable checklist for patients to systematically monitor the various aspects of their recovery. Print this one off and keep it handy.

 

6. Blog: FootEducation.com

The Foot Education blog is peer-reviewed and maintains an editorial board spanning the US, France and Korea. Some key posts:

 

7. Article: I had foot or ankle surgery, now what? Post-operative tips

This helpful post was written by Dr. Jeffrey N. Bowman from the Houston Foot Specialists clinic in Houston, Texas. With nearly 2,000 shares and counting, it appears many people have found Dr. Bowman’s advice here helpful.

 
8. Article: Tips for a Successful Foot Surgery Recovery

This article, by Dr. Jeffrey Petrinitz of the Triad Foot Center in North Carolina, is actually more specific than the title suggests. Dr. Petrinitz actually outlines the RICE method for healing in this post. Take a look if the RICE method is new to you, or if you just need a refresher.

 

9. Article: 8 Tips to Speed Up Your Recovery Time Following Ankle Surgery

This post, from the Silverman Ankle & Foot clinic in Minnesota, approaches recovery from a more holistic perspective, with tips about dieting and mental health in addition to information directly related to getting your ankle healed. We’ll delve further into these holistic ideas on down the list.
 

10. Blog: ZipHeal.com

The ZipHeal blog is maintained by non-professionals, but it offers an impressive number of great articles aimed at helping readers recovery from all kinds of things. Recommended posts:

 

11. Article: Post-Operative Foot & Ankle Helpful Hints

This post — from Eric P. Anctil, MD, and Matthew W. Byers, PA-C, of the TusconOrthopaedic Institute — deals mainly with how to manage pain, swelling and discomfort following surgery.

 

12. Forum thread: Tips for recovery with a broken ankle

Although this thread comes from PhysicalTherapist.com, the same caveats about anonymous internet advice apply. Let the experiences of others guide and inform the questions you ask your physical therapist, but please do not follow forum advice verbatim.

 

13. PDF document: A Patient’s Guide to Foot and Ankle Surgery

The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York has put together a nice digital brochure for its patients that you can also access. Tips for post-operative recovery begin on page 12.

 

14. Blog: FootCareMD

The FootCareMD blog is maintained by the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, so it’s information is as reliable as you can find this side of a doctor’s office. Some good posts:

 
15. PDF document: Post-Operative Care and What to Expect After Surgery of the Foot and Ankle

The Coughlin Clinic at Saint Alphonsus hospital in Boise, Idaho, has made publicly available its tip sheet for post-op patients. These are orders straight from the doctor, so follow closely.

 

16. Article: Ankle Surgery Post-Operative Instructions

As with the document above, this post contains doctors’ orders from the Storm Mountain Orthopaedics clinic in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. This post goes a little bit more in depth, however, especially regarding showering, PT and medication.

 

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Photo credit: Simon James

 

17. PDF document: Foot and Ankle Surgery Post Operative Instructions

Printable doctors’ instructions, this time from the Western Orthopaedics clinic in Denver, Colorado. Take note of the exercises listed here, and maybe print out the two-page document for easy reference.

 

18. Article: General Guidelines to Post-Operative Foot Care

This general guidelines post from the Shore Foot and Ankle clinic in Ocean View, Delaware, does a good job of explicitly setting out certain things you absolutely should not do, including putting ice/heat directly on the surgical area, and advice on keeping your bandages from getting wet.

 

19. Article: Post-Operative Care

This very lengthy post from Dr. John G. Kennedy at Sports Medicine New York covers everything from pain management to rehabilitation to positive thinking. Bookmark this one.

 

20. PDF document: Post-Operative Nail Surgery Care

This brochure covers the specific case of post-op recovery for anyone who has had nail surgery performed. If that’s you, print off this four-point checklist from the Foot Specialists clinic in the Austin, Texas, area.

 

21. Research: After Ankle Surgery: Mobilize With Care

This one might be useful reading for some people. The above post is a short summary of research that indicates a removable cast or splint can be better for post-op ankle fracture patients than an immobilizing plaster cast. Don’t worry — it’s short and thin on medical jargon.

 

22. Article: Ankle Fracture Aftercare

This checklist from the Saudi German Hospitals Group covers a great deal of what anyone recovering from ankle fracture surgery will need to know immediately after his or her operation.

 

23. PDF document: After Your Ankle Scope Surgery

Doctors’ orders from the S.P.O.R.T. clinic in Texas. Anyone who is recovering specifically from ankle scope surgery should print out this two-page checklist.

 

24. Article: What Happens After My Ankle Arthroscopy?

The Foot and Ankle Clinic in the UK has put together this useful timeline for anyone who has just had an ankle arthroscopy. Follow-up reading: Complications of Ankle Arthroscopy

 

25. Article: What Precautions Do I Need to Take After Ankle Surgery?

This post on WiseGeek sums up a number of things ankle surgery patients need to deal with post-op.

 

26. Article: What You Need to Know After Ankle Surgery

This post, from the Torniercompany, is for ankle replacement patients and offers a number of tips for how to handle the recovery period.

 

27. Article for golfers: How to Recover From Ankle Surgery

This post, from Golflink.com, offers specific advice for ankle surgery patients who are itching to get back out on the golf course.

 

28. Website: Healthtap

Healthtap allows users to ask questions directly to a pool of doctors, who offer their own answers. Signup is required to post questions, but you can check out answers doctors have given to questions related to ankle surgery recovery tips here.

 

29. Mega article: Foot and Ankle Surgery Resources

Dr. Steven Palladino of the Permanente Medical Group has put together one of the most comprehensive lists of resources we’ve seen for foot and ankle surgery patients. Spend some time with this one. Here are a couple of highlights:

 

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Staying Healthy

30. Article: Recovering from Ankle Replacement Surgery

This post, from the Canadian Arthritis Society, offers five important health tips that actually apply to anyone who has had lower-extremity surgery, not just an ankle replacement. Start here for developing healthy habits as your recover.

 

31. Article: How to Lose the Weight Gained When an Ankle is Broken

People going through sedentary recovery periods are susceptible to a little weight gain. That’s normal. So check out this LiveStrong post for how to lose that weight.

 

32. Article: How to Strengthen an Atrophied Calf Muscle

For those far enough along in their recoveries that they can turn their attentions to exercise, the AZ Central newspaper has a nice piece on recovering strength and mass in the calf muscle.

 

33. Article: Key Building Blocks to a Surgical Recovery Diet

This post from the Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Center in Westerville, Ohio, details the importance of nutrition during your recovery period and tells you what you should be eating while your foot or ankle heals.

 

34. Article: How to Avoid Gaining Weight When You’re Injured

The advice from this piece on Shape.com also applies to anyone who has had foot or ankle surgery. No surprises here: The shortest path to weight loss is through healthy habits and exercise.

 

35. Article: How Patients Can Get an Aerobic Workout While Staying Off Their Feet

This post from Podiatry Today contains a video that shows anyone recovering from foot or ankle surgery how to stay fit.

 

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Photo credit: Eugene Kim

 

Motivation and Maintaining a Positive Attitude

36. Blog: My Achy Breaky Foot

Despite the blog’s cringeworthy name, it actually does a good job of chronicling Dr. Melinda Mingus’ experiences after her ankle surgery. There are numerous tips throughout the blog for dealing with pain and stretching. The posts that really resonated with readers, though, seem to be those that deal with her trying to stay positive. Take a look at the 97 comments on her post The Mental Side of Recovering From Ankle Surgery, and use what others have learned to your own benefit.

 

37. Forum thread: Anyone had their ankle fused / ankle fusion surgery?

This forum thread is useful because it describes many other patients’ experiences with ankle fusion surgery, many of whom report they have regained at least most of their mobility. Learn from others and stay positive.

 

38. Forum thread: For Anyone That’s Torn Their ACL

Two caveats here. First, it’s a bit off-topic because the thread discusses knee injuries. Second, it’s Reddit, which means cursing and unsubstantiated opinions galore. Proceed with caution.

If you do go through the thread, however, you will find a number of people who share their motivations for sticking with therapy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

 

39. This photo

Nurture your support network. Your time spent recuperating offers you a wonderful opportunity to get closer with some of your friends … human or otherwise.

 

40. Forum thread: Dealing with boredom

This is a nice discussion on Reddit from a variety of ex-patients who share how they dealt with their own boredom during their recovery.

 

41. Web shop: Broken Beauties

Who says you can’t accessorize your cast or mobility devices? Get yourself a cast cover with a pink skull or leopard print pattern. It will brighten your day and get a good laugh from your friends.

 

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Photo credit: FiDalwood

 

Information and Entertainment

42. Article: 20 Ways to Stay Entertained Following Foot Surgery

This post from the Silverman Ankle & Foot clinic in Minnesota offers 10 suggestions for adults and 10 suggestions for children to keep their minds active during the recovery phase.

 

43. Article: Having an Operation — Janet’s Story

OK, so this is slightly off-topic because the patient in this post had knee surgery, not foot or ankle surgery. However, her story is worth a read just because of her great attitude when it came to getting better.

From the piece:

“After a few days, the physio would come down, and we’d have to do these exercises. You’ll find that each time you do it, it gets easier, until the time you leave hospital. You’re getting a nice bend back in the knee.

“But, as they say, no pain no gain. And that’s true, isn’t it? So this is what I did.”

 

44. Video: Broken Toe

Don’t worry — nothing gruesome here. Instead, this is a great video from a guy in Scotland who illustrates how you don’t have to let an injury or an incapacitation slow you down. The fun starts at 0:55.

 

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Inspiration

45. Article: 79-Year-Old Judo Instructor Undergoes Ankle Replacement to Continue Inspiring Young Athletes

The headline pretty much tells the story. Use it to stay motivated.

Here is Bob Corwin, an Illinois resident who has taught judo for 54 years, on his recovery: “I have absolutely no pain whatsoever. I will continue teaching and coaching judo, which is what I love to do.”

 

46. Video: Grant Hill on dealing with chronic ankle injuries in the NBA

Duke basketball legend Grant Hill had a promising NBA career cut short (relatively — he was in the league for 20 years) by recurring foot and ankle injuries. In this video, he talks about how those struggles and his recovery actually helped make him a better person.

 

Some Things You May Not Have Considered

47. Website: Links to 50 State DMVs

If you have to drive during your recovery period, it might be worth looking into whether you can obtain a handicapped parking pass. Find your state’s department of motor vehicles to begin that application process.

 

48. Article: 56 Things to do While Recovering From Surgery

This post from Spine-Health.com is technically intended for those who have undergone spinal surgery, but almost everything here applies to anyone who has had foot or ankle surgery, as well.

 

49. Forum thread: Thoughtful Details for Post-Surgery Recovery

One MetaFilter user in Chicago asked readers for suggestions for how to pass the time during their partner’s weeklong sedentary recovery period, and the question got some really helpful responses. Scroll through to see what other people have done to keep themselves entertained, to get their chores and daily tasks taken care of, and what they did to manage their pain.

 

50. Websites: Homejoy / TaskRabbit / DogWalker.com

Even if you have an awesome support network of friends and family around you, there’s a certain peace of mind that comes with knowing you can simply outsource chores when you’re not able to do them yourself. Use Homejoy to get your home cleaned, TaskRabbit to get one-off errands (picking up dry-cleaning or buying someone flowers, for example) run, and DogWalker.com to find someone who can regularly keep your best four-legged friend exercised.