Preparing for Foot and Ankle Surgery

Foot and ankle surgeries can be a significant disruption to daily life. However, with proper preparation, patients can significantly increase their chances of successful surgery and recovery. In this article, we'll outline some essential tips to help you prepare for your foot and ankle surgery.

Preparing for Surgery: Steps to Take

Consultation with the Podiatrist

Before any surgery, it's important to consult your podiatrist. During this appointment, you'll have the opportunity to discuss the details of the surgery, ask any questions, and go over any necessary paperwork. You'll also learn what to expect during the surgery and recovery process.

Pre-operative evaluations

Your podiatrist may order pre-operative evaluations, such as blood tests, imaging tests, and an electrocardiogram (ECG). These tests are designed to ensure you're healthy enough for surgery and help your surgeon plan the best course of action.

Medications to Avoid

Some medications can increase the risk of bleeding and other complications during and after surgery. Your podiatrist will provide you with a list of medications to avoid, such as blood thinners and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). You may need to stop taking these medications several days before your surgery.

Preparing Your Home

Before your surgery, preparing your home for your recovery is important. This includes making necessary modifications, such as installing grab bars in the bathroom and removing tripping hazards like loose rugs. You'll also need to arrange transportation to and from the surgery center and assistance with daily activities. You may need time off to recuperate properly if you work from home.

Preparing for Recovery

Your podiatrist may recommend physical therapy or rehabilitation after your surgery. It's important to plan for this in advance, so you can make any necessary arrangements. You'll also need to consider dietary changes that may be necessary during your recovery period.

Foot Surgery

Day of Surgery: What to Expect

Pre-operative Procedures

On the day of your surgery, you'll need to arrive at the surgery center several hours before the scheduled surgery time. This will give you time to complete the necessary paperwork and meet with the anesthesiologist. Depending on the type of surgery, you may be given local or general anesthesia.

The Surgical Procedure

Your surgeon will explain the surgery details to you before the procedure begins. During the surgery, you'll be closely monitored by the surgical team. After the surgery, you'll spend some time in the recovery room before being moved to your hospital or discharged home.

Post-operative Recovery

Recovery from foot and ankle surgery can be challenging, but there are several things you can do to make the process smoother. You'll likely experience some pain and swelling, and your foot or ankle may be wrapped in a bandage or cast. Your surgeon may recommend that you use crutches or a walker to assist with mobility.


Post-operative Care

Care at the Hospital

If you stay in the hospital after your surgery, your care team will closely monitor your condition and provide pain management medications as needed. They'll also teach you how to care for your bandage or cast and provide any necessary mobility aids, such as a scooter.

Care at Home

Once you're discharged from the hospital, you'll need to continue to care for your foot or ankle at home. This may include keeping the incision site clean and dry, managing pain and swelling, and following any specific instructions from your podiatrist about post-operative care.

You may need to elevate your foot or ankle above heart level for the first few days after surgery to help reduce swelling. It's important to avoid getting the bandage or cast wet, so take a sponge bath or use a waterproof cover while showering or bathing. You may also need to adjust the pillows you use while sleeping to ensure that your foot or ankle stays elevated.

You may also need to regularly change the bandage or dressing on your foot or ankle, as directed by your podiatrist. This is to help prevent infection and ensure that the incision site is healing properly. Your podiatrist will also give you specific instructions on properly using crutches or a walker to help you move around without putting weight on your foot or ankle.

Follow-up Visits with the Podiatrist

Following your surgery, you'll have several follow-up visits with your podiatrist. These visits are important to ensure that your foot or ankle is healing properly and to address any concerns or issues that may arise. During these visits, your podiatrist may remove your cast or bandage and examine your incision site. They'll also likely recommend physical therapy or rehabilitation to help you regain strength and mobility in your foot or ankle.


Preparing for foot and ankle surgery can be overwhelming, but ensuring a successful surgery and recovery is essential. By preparing your home, planning for your recovery, and following your podiatrist's instructions, you'll be on the road to a speedy recovery. Remember to take it easy, listen to your body, and attend all follow-up appointments to ensure the best possible outcome.

Preparing for foot and ankle surgery is an important process that involves several steps. From consulting with your podiatrist to preparing your home and planning for recovery, taking the necessary steps can make all the difference in your surgery's success. Remember, proper post-operative care is crucial to ensure you heal properly and regain mobility as soon as possible. With these tips and a little patience, you'll be back on your feet without that pesky bunion!

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