Preparing for Foot and Ankle Surgery

Foot and ankle surgery is a unique area of surgery, and requires input from both Surgeon and Patient.

Leading up to your operation it is important that you are prepared to ensure your procedure and recovery proceeds smoothly.

Once the surgery is completed the rehabilitation is vital to the success of your procedure.
Your post operative care is individualised to the surgery which you have undertaken.
It is important that the instructions are adhered to and the physiotherapy exercises are undertaken to optimise your outcome.

The information provided here is aimed to give you knowledge and understanding of your surgical procedure.

It is important that you read this information carefully. If you have any questions about your surgery, the risks or benefits, or your rehabilitation plan, please contact the rooms at any stage.

Before surgery

What to bring to hospital:

  • Any questions that you have written down with regard to the procedure
  • Your x-rays
  • Medication
  • Pathology results
  • Any letters from your doctors
  • Documentation about your health fund
  • Clean feet

Should I take my regular medication?

In general you should take your normal medications with a small sip of water. If you are a diabetic or take blood thinning medication you will have special instructions. If you are unsure then please contact your Anaesthetist prior to your procedure.

What should I wear?

Please remove all jewellery and nail polish from your feet. Shower either the night before or the morning of your surgery. Ensure your feet and nails are clean.

Wear loose fitting clothes that are able to be easily put on and will fit over bulky bandages or dressings.

What if I have a cut or an infection on my foot?

If you have an infection or ‘athletes foot’ these are best treated prior to your surgery. Significant infection may preclude your surgery proceeding. If you have any concerns please contact the rooms to discuss this further with Mr. Curry.

Will I see my surgeon before the operation?

Mr. Curry will review you on the day of surgery. You will be able to ask any questions you might have regarding your surgery. He will confirm your consent to proceed with the surgery and mark the appropriate foot.

How will I get home after my surgery?

You must arrange for someone who is able to drive to take you home after your surgery. We recommend that you have someone stay with you during the first 24 hours after you get home to ensure you are safe in your home.

In Hospital

Mr Curry will aim to review while you are in hospital and will explain the findings at surgery and ensure your progress is satisfactory.

Pain relief

Your pain relief will be managed by the Anaesthetist.
Commonly for foot surgery a local anaesthetic nerve block is performed which will provide pain relief for approximately 8-16 hours after your operation. This causes the leg to be numb and whilst it is working you will be unable to move your ankle or toes.
As the nerve block begins to wear off you will begin to feel tingling in your foot. It is important to alert the nurses to this and to begin taking oral pain relief early to prevent your pain getting out of control.

Physiotherapy

You will be seen by a Physiotherapist whilst in hospital who will provide any walking aids or shoes which may have been requested by Mr. Curry. The Physiotherapist will ensure you are able to manage the instructions about weightbearing are adhered to and that you can manage safely.

Discharge

Once you are able to safely use crutches, a frame or knee scooter and manage stairs and your pain is under control then you may go home. This is determined by Mr Curry, the physiotherapist and nursing staff.

Post operative instructions

In order to optimise the outcome of your surgery it is important to follow these instructions as closely as possible.

If you have any questions about what you should do please ask Mr Curry, the nursing staff of the hospital or contact Mr Curry’s rooms to discuss this further.

A post operative appointment will have been made for you prior to your surgery

Rest and elevation

For the first 10-14 days after your surgery it is important to elevate your foot as much as possible. This will help with pain relief and swelling.
If the foot is not elevated the swelling can increase, which can have an affect on wound healing and lead to wound infection and breakdown.

Pain relief

It is better to treat your pain regularly rather than let it get out of control.
You will have been provided you with pain relief to take home. If you have any questions regarding pain relief please contact your Anaesthetist for advice.

Exercise

While you are resting it is important to maintain motion of your other joints and improve blood flow. The Physiotherapist will provide you with an exercise program designed to help with this. You should continue these exercises once you are home.

Dressings

Dressings and casts need to be kept dry. When showering you will need to wrap your foot in a bag and seal the top of the bag to avoid water getting in.
Dressings around the foot and ankle should be left intact until you see Mr. Curry at your post operative appointment, unless you are instructed otherwise by Mr. Curry.
If your cast or dressings become wet please contact the rooms.

Post operative problems

Surgery is not without risks. If you have concerns or are experiencing any of the problems outlined below please contact the rooms.

  • Infection of the wound.
  • Wounds feel painful and hot.
  • Redness moving up the leg.
  • Wound begins to smell.
  • Feel unwell with a fever.
  • Increased swelling of the foot.
  • Toes change colour and become cold.
  • Numbness or loss of sensation in the foot.
  • Calf pain or swelling.
  • Excessive fresh blood coming from the dressings.
  • Uncontrolled pain after elevation and pain relief.
  • Side effects due to the medication.
  • Your cast or dressing becomes wet.

Post operative consultation

Each surgical procedure is individualised to you. It is important that any rehabilitation advice, including orthotics and exercises, is provided as early as possible to optimise your recovery from surgery.

The instructions that you will receive regarding recovery times, physiotherapy and time to drive will be specific to your condition.

First post operative visit

This is approximately 2 weeks after surgery.
This is always at the main rooms at Suite 16 Level 1, 166 Gipps Street, East Melbourne.
You will be reviewed by our Nurse Practitioner who will remove your cast or dressing and remove sutures.
Mr Curry will then come and review your wound and will explain any findings at surgery and advise you again on the plan for recovery.
Our Nurse Practitioner will then re-dress, and apply a boot or brace as required.
You will be provided with advice about weightbearing, and exercises which may be exercises required.
You will require physiotherapy following your surgery in most cases. This can be done locally and information can be provided for you to take to your own physiotherapist.

There is no cost for Mr Curry or the practice nurse for this post operative visit.

There is a cost for any boot or brace that may be required. A quote for this will have been provided prior to your surgery.

Subsequent post operative visits

You will require further review with Mr Curry dependent on your surgery and needs.
Unless there is a concern regarding the wound this visit can be undertaken at a location closer to you.

There is a cost associated with each subsequent visit, equivalent to a normal “subsequent” consultation..

If you have any concerns regarding your post operative plan please contact Mr Curry’s rooms.

Frequently asked questions

When can I travel by aeroplane?

After surgery, particularly in the foot, there is a relative increased risk of deep venous thrombosis. This is increased during the first 3 months. If you are planning air travel during this period please discuss this with Mr. Curry prior to surgery.

Will I beep going through airport security?

If you have metalware inserted as part of your surgery this will generally not activate an x-ray machine. When there are large amounts of metal however this may occur. If you are uncertain we suggest you take a copy of your x-rays with you when you travel.

When can I drive?

This is dependent on your procedure and which foot has been operated on.
Left foot – you are able to drive an automatic car 2 weeks after surgery
Right foot or manual car – you cannot drive until fully weightbearing and out of the boot or shoe which is required for your surgery. This ranges from 6 weeks to 3 months depending on the procedure.

How do I obtain a Medical or Workcover certificate?

If you require a certificate please contact the rooms to arrange this.

Will I need help at home?

Some surgeries require non-weightbearing for a period. It is essential that this be complied with. You may need help at home if the following apply
You have young children at home
You live alone
Your partner will be unable to help with your recovery

In these situations please inform Mr Curry’s rooms prior to surgery as you may need extra help to ensure a good outcome.

Options include contacting your local council for home help assistance, respite care or rehabilitation.

If there are other questions you would like to ask, please do not hesitate to contact our rooms on (03) 99286560.