Foot surgery is a daunting prospect. You face anesthesia, incisions, and potential blood loss as well as compromised movement and pain during recovery.
You can sail through the process and recovery by preparing in advance. Your home is going to serve as your place for recovery. Make it a nurturing environment, so you feel relaxed, rather than stressed, as you heal.
1. Enlist a friend or family member.
If you live alone, enlist a family member or friend who can be with you for the first few days that you recover. If you have driving restrictions, they can run errands for you. They can also help you prepare meals and bathe, especially in the days as you get into a recovery routine.
Clear up any spaces that you may need to navigate during your recovery, such as hallways or bathrooms. This includes removing any loose cords, securing rugs, and moving knick knacks that you might knock over when moving through with a scooter or crutches.
3. Set up night lights.
You may need a little extra help should you get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or grab something from another room in the dark. Night lights, particularly in the bedroom and bathroom areas as well as adjacent hallways, help prevent a crash.
4. Organize the bathroom.
Arrange things like your toothbrush, soap, and mouthwash in a place that’s easy to reach, so you don’t have to reach for high shelves (or low ones) while you’re compromised during recovery.
Also, gather all the supplies you need to protect your foot during bathing or showering, and get them ready in advance of surgery. You’ll need to cover the leg that’s had surgery with a plastic bag to keep it dry. Keep several plastic bags on hand as well as tape (masking or dressing tape), so you’re ready to shower or bathe whenever you need. Depending on the surgery and your capabilities, you may also want to obtain a shower bench or chair from a local surgical supply store to further help you.
5. Set up a space on a main floor.
If your bedroom is upstairs or downstairs, set up a temporary space on the main floor, so you can avoid the stairs during your initial recovery. You may take a guest room, office, or living area couch, chaise, or cot. Surround that space with all the things you might need immediately as you rest – including phone chargers, laptop, notepads, water bottles, pillows, and remote controls.
6. Get your meals squared away.
Arrange your kitchen so snacks, coffee, and water or electrolyte drinks (optimal hydration is crucial as you heal) are easily accessible. Prepare some healthy meals in advance and freeze them so you can stay nourished as you recover. Have a few take-out menus nearby just in case, too.
7. Prepare some ice packs.
Pre-freeze several ice packs, damp washcloths, or freezer bags full of ice. These packs should be thin so you can cover them with a sheet or towel and place them over your surgical site to reduce swelling and pain.
At the The Frazier Foot and Ankle Center, we want you to heal from any procedure as fast and efficiently as possible. Feel free to ask questions prior to your procedure about what to expect during healing. We support you throughout your surgery and recovery process.