Sometimes, no matter how many stretches you’ve done, or how much rest you’ve taken, your foot or ankle pain just won’t go away. If all conservative care has been attempted, but has failed to alleviate your discomfort, surgery is a great option to eliminate your symptoms and get you back to a pain-free life.

Surgery ToolsIncreased Risk of Inflammation

Foot and ankle surgery is unique and unlike surgery on any other body part. First, the foot and ankle are the lowest place on your body and therefore gravity will increase swelling after surgery. Also, because the foot and ankle are so far away from your heart, it is more difficult to pump blood out of your lower extremities which results in increased swelling as well. On top of all that, when you walk, you are putting all of your body weight on one foot, while the other foot is swinging in the air. This can be painful after surgery. For all of these reasons, it’s important that you stay off of your feet and keep them elevated as much as possible. We require our feet so much on a daily basis and that can make foot surgery recovery more difficult.

What to Expect

So what should you expect after ankle or foot surgery? Well, that depends on the surgery. For example, some procedures, like hammertoe surgery, can be 14 days in a special shoe and then return to normal shoes. However, more complex procedures like those performed in the rearfoot and heel, can require 6 to 8 weeks without weight on the foot, and a total recovery that can last up to 6 months. No matter what surgery you undergo, though, it is important to give your body the time it needs to heal.

Take the Time You Need

One of the most important issues surrounding foot surgery is having enough time to heal afterwards. It is so critical to allow yourself the downtime needed to fully recover before trying to jump back into your regular life and work schedule. Patients who try to squeeze in surgery around a small window of time find the recovery to be even longer and more painful. It’s best to give yourself ample time to recuperate. By following care instructions closely and not rushing it, your recovery will go faster and more smoothly.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

Another very important consideration is to understand the goals of the surgery. Most often the goal is not to improve the look of your foot but rather, to get rid of your pain. It’s important to note that while a bunionectomy (bunion surgery), or a hammertoe procedure, there is no change to the function of the foot, a reconstructive surgery can cause changes that must be understood beforehand.

Let’s Talk

If you are contemplating surgery, come in and discusses your concerns and goals with our board certified and qualified surgeons. We can help guide you through this important decision making process. We have special-extended appointments for a thorough pre-operative evaluation, so that we can spend as much time as you need to discuss your specific case and your options. Give our offices a call at (877) 905-5907 and let our receptionists know you are thinking of surgery so that we can answer all of your questions. We have several convenient southeastern Pennsylvania locations. Visit one today!

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Alexandra K. Grulke, DPM, FACFAS, CWS
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Trained in all aspects of podiatry, with special focus in pediatrics and foot/ankle reconstructive surgery