Northwest Hospital Foot & Ankle Clinic

After Your Surgery

Recovering From Surgery

Recovery takes time. It’s important to follow the post-operative instructions specific to your procedure. These instructions are included in the handout our office provided prior to your surgery. Please call us if you need another handout.

Many patients will not have a strong appetite after surgery. Try eating smaller, lighter and more frequent meals. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids. Use your anti-nausea prescription as needed. If you continue to experience nausea or vomiting, please call our office.

Many patients feel fatigued after surgery. Make sure to get plenty of rest and listen to your body. Mild exercise will help with the healing process, so make an effort to take a leisurely walk around your home or outside each day. Depending on the type of operation you had, it can take anywhere from one to three months to return to your previous energy level.

Managing Pain

Remember to take your prescribed pain medications as directed. Discontinue any other pain medications you may have at home, unless you have discussed these additional medications with your physician.

Often, worsening pain is due to an overly tight cast or splint. Before you call your doctor, please loosen the outer wrapping and separate the internal cotton gauze. If the pain persists, pull apart the plaster sides down to the ankle. If you are in a boot, remove the boot. If your pain does not subside, discuss your options with your doctor.

Follow-up Care

Most procedures require a post-operative check-up with your surgeon. Follow-up care is dependent on your individual circumstances. After you arrive home, a nurse will contact you to ask how your recovery is progressing and to schedule follow-up care. In addition, a Medical Assistant from our office will contact the day following your surgery.

When to Call the Doctor

For both urgent and non-urgent issues during business hours, please call our office. After hours, weekends or on holidays, please follow the audio prompts to be connected with our answering service. The answering service will page the doctor on call for urgent and emergent issues, the doctor will respond to you within 30 minutes.

We encourage you to write down your concerns before calling so you don’t forget to tell us anything and also have your pharmacy name and number available. Please be aware we do not refill narcotic prescriptions over the weekend. Depending on the nature of your issue, you may be instructed to go to the emergency room.

Call if you:

  • Have a fever above 101.5 degrees, and/or “shaking chills”
  • Are having difficulty urinating or signs of a urinary tract infection
  • Have had no bowel movement for more than three days
  • Are vomiting after eating
  • Notice your incision is draining yellow/green fluid, is red like a sunburn and spreading or has increasing swelling or tenderness
  • Feel an increase or sudden onset of severe pain
  • Have any reaction to your pain medications such as a rash, itching or severe nausea

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have chest pain and trouble breathing
  • Cannot urinate on your own

Our team is always on hand to care for you and to ensure you are properly prepared for your surgery and recovery period. If you have questions, please our office.