Marching to the Beat of a Different Drummer: Foot Care After Surgery
Posted by Pamela S on Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
Your podiatrist has done the hard work, fixed what was broken, and taken away your pain. Now it is up to you to make sure you don’t undo his handiwork. Surgery is usually the final option, when less invasive treatments aren’t effective. Many patients don’t prepare for surgery, or follow their doctor’s instructions. In order to have the best outcome, don’t rush your recovery.
Be proactive. Part of the recovery process, is preparation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take notes. Ask your doctor for credentials. Podiatrist training consists of four years of college, four years of podiatry college and three to four years as a resident.
According to the American Board of Medical Specialties, board certification requires extensive peer evaluation and testing administered by specialists in the practioner’s area of medicine. Board certified physicians keep current with evolving medical techniques through continuing education.
Doctors like New York Podiatrist, Dr. Josef J. Geldwert and his associates at The Center For Podiatric Care And Sports Medicine also maintain membership in a number of professional organizations, such as:
- American Board of Podiatric Surgery
- American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons
- American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine
- American Society of Podiatric Surgeons
Here are some further tips to make your journey through surgery and recovery easier:
- Speak with your HMO or insurance carrier and discuss what they can do for you.
- Ask your doctor about estimated recovery time, and the level of activity you can maintain during this time.
- Talk to your employer about the time you need off work. Depending on the procedure, you may be off work for weeks, or even months.
- Speak with family members, friends and neighbors, you are going to need help. You may not be able to walk or drive, and this is the time to count on the empathy of your loved ones.
- Plan ways to keep yourself occupied so you are not tempted to walk before it is advisable. Accumulate a selection of books. Now is the time to get that large flat screen you have wanted and subscribe to a good satellite service. You may be watching a lot of TV.
- Prepare your home in advance. Move furniture around. You don’t want to bump your foot into the edge of a glass coffee table.
- You may need help with showering or bathing. If this is too embarrassing, install grab bars and purchase a shower stool prior to surgery. You will need to cover your cast with a plastic bag or a cast protector.
Dealing with all of these issues seems like a lot, but planning removes some of the stress, so that you can concentrate on building your strength after surgery.
Many operations are performed in the doctor’s office or as an outpatient. You may also have the option of local anesthesia or a light sedation. If it is possible, this is a great choice for hastening your recovery. General anesthesia takes a greater toll on your body.
After surgery, you may have to wear bandages, a splint, cast, or a special shoe, such as a surgical shoe or open sandal. Your pain will be controlled through medication. Exercises or physical therapy may be recommended.
Your doctor’s office will book a follow up appointment for you. It is crucial to attend, so that your doctor can determine how well you are healing.
Keep the incision clean and watch for infection. If the area feels hot, looks swollen and red, or you develop a fever, seek medical attention.
In some cases, you will be up and around in a remarkably short period of time, but remember, your entire body weight is placed upon those feet. You may be advised to follow what is known as the RICE method – rest, ice, compression and elevation.
For some operations, you may not be able to put pressure on your feet for an extended period of time. You will graduate to a walker, crutches or a cane. If it makes you feel better, purchase a cane that has style.
You may be itching to get moving, but don’t do it. You could destroy the progress you have made, and put yourself on the line for even more surgery.
Your doctor wants you to make a full recovery. You are a walking advertisement for his or her skills. If you have any questions, your doctor or the office staff will be happy to help you.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.