Foot and Ankle Surgery – Recovery Guide

Foot and Ankle Surgery – Recovery Guide

Foot Surgery, like most kinds of surgery, can create a good deal of apprehension. It is a highly specialised field and patients often do not know what to expect. Below are answers to some of the most common questions I am asked by patients who are considering surgery.

How Long Does it Take to Walk After Foot Surgery?

The length of time it can take to return to walking activities after foot surgery can be highly variable and depends on factors such as the kind of procedure, your general state of health and how well a patient follows post operative rehabilitation. However, below are some typical time frames you can expect under normal conditions:

Osteotomy – for correction of Bunions

  • Pain relief for 3-5 days typically.
  • Careful weight bearing with crutches 2 weeks postoperatively
  • Possible return to trainers at week 2
  • Return to normal shoes at 4-6 weeks postoperatively
  • Return to most normal activities and gentle exercise at approximately 6-8 weeks
  • Return to active and contact sports, such as running, at 12 weeks

Toe Surgery – for correction of Claw Toes or Hammered Toes

  • Minimal weight bearing for 5 days in post operative shoes
  • Trainers after 2 weeks if implants used
  • Trainers after 5 weeks if wires are used
  • No impact activities for up to 8 weeks

Tendon Repair – for Torn Achilles Tendon

  • 3 weeks in a cast or splint with no weight bearing
  • 3 weeks in a protective boot
  • Gradual return to weight bearing after this
  • Return to shoes at around 8 weeks postoperatively

Neuroma Removal – for correction of Nerve Related Pain

  • Weight bearing as tolerated after anesthesia has worn off
  • You will use a post-operative shoe until your stitches are out at 2 weeks
  • Trainers after 2 weeks
  • Sports after 4-6 weeks

How Long Should I Keep My Foot Elevated After Surgery?

Elevating the lower extremities is a very important aspect of rehabilitation following surgery. This can lessen trauma so you can heal faster, decrease pain and lower the risk of developing DVT.
The time you should keep your foot elevated after surgery will depend on factors such as, the kind of surgery you underwent and your response to postoperative rehabilitation. People who have a greater degree of postoperative risk, for example those who have diabetes, will likely require a greater period of rest and elevation.
However, generally for the initial period of rest, typically 1 – 3 days, you will need to have your leg raised as much as possible. Following this it would typically be recommended when swelling or pain becomes quite severe.

How Long Does Your Foot Stay Swollen After Bunion Surgery?

Foot swelling after surgery is normal and part of the healing process. However, it can be uncomfortable and a little distressing. For procedures that involve cutting of the bone, it is common for swelling to increase over the first 6 weeks postoperatively and the decrease over the subsequent 6 weeks. If it is a large operation it can take up to 6 months to return to normal.

How To Reduce Swelling After Foot Surgery?

The best way to decrease surgery is to keep the foot elevated periodically and conduct your post operative exercises in the prescribed timeframes.

When Can I Drive After Foot Surgery?

Most patients are not permitted to drive immediately following Foot Surgery. If you are wearing a cast, you are not able to drive until this has been removed and your surgeon has confirmed it is safe to drive again. If your recovery requires bone healing it can take 6 – 8 weeks to return to driving; after the bone has healed.

Foot Surgery Cost in the UK

The cost of Foot Surgery in the UK is highly dependent on the type and magnitude of the procedure. Factors that have an impact on cost include:

  • Whether implants are required
  • Whether the procedure is outpatient or requires a stay in hospital
  • Whether the procedure requires anaesthetic
  • Whether pre and postoperative medical imaging is required and the kind (e.g. MRI’s are often more costly than x-rays)
  • Whether you will need specialised care during recovery
  • Whether you require an operation on both feet or just one

As an indication of this variance, at my practice surgical fees can range between:

Ingrown Toenail Procedure = £450, and Multiple Bilateral forefoot surgeries Procedure = £10,500

Your surgeon will be able to provide a detailed breakdown of fees involved for your particular operation, when you are considering your treatment options.

Foot Clinic in London
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