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The Road to Recovery After Foot or Ankle Surgery

Triangle Region / 13 Mar 2023

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by EmergeOrtho
The Road to Recovery After Foot or Ankle Surgery

Most people understand that the majority of surgeries require an investment of time to heal properly. But, obviously, different types of surgeries demand longer recoveries than others. When it comes to foot and ankle surgery recovery time, many of our patients want to know how they can maximize their post-surgery healing to get back to the activities they enjoy.

At EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region, we are committed to helping all our patients recover safely and effectively. This means not only providing the most advanced and minimally-invasive surgical approaches for optimal results but also ensuring that our patients receive the education and information they need.

Keep reading to learn how to maximize healing and maybe even reduce your ankle and foot surgery recovery time.

Average Ankle and Foot Surgery Recovery Time

Our Foot and Ankle Team routinely performs foot and ankle surgeries, specializing in comprehensive, patient-centered care. Who better than to offer insight into recovery tips, than our board-certified foot and ankle surgeons?

 A male foot and ankle doctor examines the foot of a male patient after foot and ankle surgery. The first thing to understand when it comes to foot and ankle surgery recovery time is that it varies widely. This is because there are many different types of foot and ankle conditions that can be improved with the aid of surgery when conservative treatment has failed to relieve symptoms.

For example, ankle ligament surgery recovery generally is usually different from bunion surgery recovery. And, furthermore, in both of these instances, there are multiple surgical interventions that can be performed—arthroscopy or reconstruction for ankle ligament surgery and an osteotomy, arthrodesis, exostectomy, or arthroplasty for bunions.

With that said, more minor to moderate foot and ankle surgeries typically require between four and six weeks of recovery. More severe and complex procedures may need closer to four to six months for the foot or ankle to fully heal.

Ankle and Foot Surgery Recovery Tips (From the Experts)

One of the best ways to ensure a safe and healthy recovery from ankle and foot surgery is to follow the explicit post-surgery guidelines of your surgeon. As we have discussed, while recovery time varies depending on the type of surgery and severity of the condition, there are common recovery tips to help encourage a smooth and safe recovery.

And, although there is no guarantee, you may even reduce your recovery time provided you implement all the post-surgery recommendations of your surgeon.

Many foot and ankle surgeries have similar gradual-step recovery guidelines, which include:

  • Limited Weight Bearing Status

    Your surgeon may have you abstain from putting any weight on the foot and ankle for six to eight weeks.

  • Assistive Devices

    You may be recommended to try a knee scooter, or use a walker, crutches, or another type of assistive device to help prevent or limit weight bearing during your recovery process depending on the procedure.

  • RICE Method

    Rest, ice, and compression while keeping the foot elevated will help reduce pain and inflammation during your recovery. Elevating above the level of your heart is very important, as is not placing any direct pressure underneath your heel to prevent developing any pressure sores.

  • Rehabilitative Exercises

    To help heal, strengthen, and restore flexibility and range-of-motion, your surgeon or a physical therapist will prescribe specific physical therapy exercises and stretches. Usually, a foot and ankle rehabilitation and conditioning program will take four to six weeks.

In addition to following the instructions provided by your surgeon, you can increase your chance for optimal recovery by preparing your home prior to surgery — such as freeing spaces of tripping hazards such as wires and loose rugs, while making sure you have plenty of healthy foods that are easy to prepare.

And, now, you can also download our free new eBook: Foot and Ankle Surgery Prep, Recovery, and Return to Life! This helpful resource will provide you with even more information on ways to maximize your recovery, as well as bonus post-surgery exercises and stretches.

To learn more, schedule an appointment with one of our highly qualified EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region doctors. Or, call us any time at (919) 220-5255.

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