Photo credit: soccerkrys
Getting Healed and Rehabilitated
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:
- Post Surgical Issues
- Physical Therapy
- I have heel pain after major foot surgery. Is this normal?
- What type of physical exercise can I do after major foot surgery?
- Foot and Ankle Surgical Complications
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.
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:
- Ankle Surgery Recovery – Post Surgical Care Tips for Patients
- Ankle Surgery Rehabilitation Tips – Long Term Measures for Ankle Fusion
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
This post from Podiatry Today contains a video that shows anyone recovering from foot or ankle surgery how to stay fit.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.