Common Questions about Foot and Ankle Surgery

Find the answers to the most commonly asked questions about foot and ankle surgery from the expert surgical team at Platte River Foot & Ankle Surgeons.

Surgery can be a scary thought at first, but with the best surgical team and the answers to your questions, you can confidently have a procedure and begin your healing journey. Dr. David Waters, Dr. Evan Lenertz, and Ashley Anderson, Physician Assistant answered some of the most common questions they get about surgery. 

  • How much time will I have to take off work after surgery?, How long do procedures take?, and when can I go home after surgery?

Each of these answers will depend entirely on the type of surgery you are going to have, your age and health prior to and after surgery, what type of job you have, and how the surgery went.  

Time off after surgery will depend on the type of procedure you are having done and the type of job you have. For example, a Total Ankle Replacement may require more time off your foot compared to a minimally invasive bunion surgery. Additionally, if you have a job that requires manual labor, you will likely need to take more time off work than if you are able to sit during the day.  

  1.  What are some things I can do to prepare for my foot or ankle surgery? 

Preparation for surgery can make the surgery itself and your recovery more successful and possibly quicker. No matter what procedure you’re having, you should consult with your surgeon about what you should do beforehand.  

Generally, if your surgeon tells you that you will be “non weight bearing”, that means you won’t be able to walk on your foot for a period of time and will need to use a device for assistance. You have many options when it comes to which device you’d like to use, we’ve linked a few below to consider: 

  1. Crutches are not the easiest device to use but they are nice to have for certain situations. You can find crutches cheaply on Amazon or at larger department stores. 
  1. Wheelchairs are the most comfortable option for many patients. You don’t have to worry about your armpits being rubbed raw, and you can elevate your foot to some degree with most. However, you should determine if the size of your hallways allow for a normal-sized wheelchair or if they will require a narrower option. 

We send referrals out for appropriate wheelchairs if you come see us at one of our locations but if you’re not in our area, you can find some options on Amazon. 

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  1. Knee scooters 

We rent out knee scooters from our clinic for only $55 but again, if you’re not in our area you can purchase a scooter online from Amazon. 

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Other things to consider prior to surgery include: figuring out how you’re going to get into and out of your house, especially if you have stairs, who is going to stay with you the night after surgery to help keep an eye on you and help you with your medications, how are you going to get to and from surgery (especially if you’re having surgery on your right foot).  

  • Can I walk on my foot after surgery? 

As mentioned above, you may be able to walk on your foot after surgery, but for others you’ll be directed to be “non weight bearing” by your surgeon.  

Procedures such as bunion corrections (fusion of the great toe), ankle scopes, cyst removals or hammertoe procedures may allow you to put some weight on your foot in either a walking boot or post-operative shoe. Procedures that take place toward the back of the foot such as hindfoot fusions, flat feet reconstructions, and total ankle replacements generally require you to stay off your foot for a period of time to allow the bones to heal in the place that your surgeon put them.  

  1. Will I be in pain after my foot or ankle surgery? 

The short answer is, yes. Repositioning of the foot, inflammation, and irritation of the nerves can all cause pain or discomfort after you’ve had surgery. At Platte River Foot & Ankle Surgeons, we do what we can to minimize your pain as much as possible in a safe way.  

Some pain management options include preoperative nerve blocks, appropriate anesthesia, standardized regime of pain medications, topical medications, ice, and rest. You should always consult your surgeon if you are feeling pain or discomfort in any way.  

  1. How long will it take for me to recover after surgery? 

Recovery will always depend on the type of procedure you had but in general, you’ll experience the most swelling and pain in the first few weeks after surgery, then it will slowly start to improve after that.  

Most physical therapy will start after about six weeks, and at around 6 months to a year you may be starting to feel closer to “normal”. Try to stay patient during your healing process and allow your body, nerves, and lymphatic system the proper time to heal.  

  • Do I have to have surgery? 

Surgery is not always required but there are certain instances where you will need to have surgery in order to relieve pain,or to live a healthier life. You should speak with your surgeon about your options.  

While surgery can be scary, your foot and ankle experts at Platte River Foot & Ankle Surgeons are here for you every step of the way. Rest assured that we are here to help you achieve your goals and will work with you to determine the best course of action for you individually.  

You can request an appointment by clicking “Request Appointment” at the top, right hand corner of our website today! We look forward to seeing you soon!  

Be sure to check out our Podcast on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts: the “Fix My Feet” podcast today to hear our providers discuss common surgery questions and answers!

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