After you leave the operating room, you will be taken to the recovery room for observation. The length you’re there will vary depending on the type of anesthesia you received. The circulation and sensation of your foot will be monitored. Once your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stable, and you are alert, you will be discharged to your home.
Dr. Gateley and his staff will provide you specific instructions for how to care for your foot during the first few weeks after surgery. You may be discharged from the surgery center wearing a special surgical shoe or cast to protect your foot.
Once at home, it’s essential to rest and keep the foot elevated on 1 or 2 pillows to help reduce pain and swelling. Dr. Gateley may also recommend that you apply ice and limit walking. Depending on your strength and mobility, you may be advised to use a walker or crutches.
Most importantly, keep the surgical dressing clean and dry. You should cover the dressing with a plastic bag and tape it with plastic tape when bathing or showering. The safest alternative is to take a sponge bath. Unless instructed differently by Dr. Gateley, keep the original surgical dressing intact until your first post-op visit with Dr. Gateley. Generally, the stitches will be removed after two weeks.
Take pain medication as recommended by Dr. Gateley. Aspirin or certain other pain medicines may increase the chance of bleeding. Be sure to take only recommended medicines. Dr. Gateley may also prescribe antibiotics to help prevent infection.
Notify Dr. Gateley and his office to report any of the following:
- Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by Dr. Gateley and his staff
- Redness, swelling, bleeding, or drainage from the incision site
- Increased pain around the incision site
- Swelling in the lower leg of the affected foot
Our surgeon will advise you as to your postoperative activity restrictions. Your foot may need continuous support from dressings or a protective boot for 6 to 8 weeks. You will need to stop driving for a week or more after surgery for your safety and others.
Physical therapy or non-weight bearing exercises may be recommended to help the foot regain strength and range of motion following surgery. High heels should be avoided for at least six months.
Dr. Gateley may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your unique situation.