General Guidelines to Post-Operative Foot Care

Your doctor has already explained the surgical procedure and possible complications associated with your procedure. The most common things you can expect after surgery are:

SWELLING: This is to be expected. It is difficult to specify what constitute a normal and an abnormal amount of swelling. You can minimize this by staying off your feet and keeping the foot elevated. Increased activity level may cause increased swelling. Minimize the time you stand or maintain the foot in a dependant (dangling) position.

PAIN: Everyone experiences some amount of pain after surgery, unfortunately, some worse than others. You will be given a prescription for pain medication before you leave the facility. Please notify us immediately if you are aware of any allergic reactions to any medications. If you have had a local injection, start taking the pain medication before the numbness begins to wear off completely.

BLEEDING: This always occurs. You may notice some oozing through the bandages. This is nothing to be concerned about. If the bleeding appears active and the bandage becomes saturated, call our office immediately.

What to Do After Surgery

Read your discharge instructions thoroughly before you leave the hospital and follow them as directed. When you return home you must rest. You may either sit up in a chair or in bed with your foot elevated. The position of your foot should be at a horizontal level. Propping the foot up on a few pillows may help decrease swelling and pain. Do not do any excessive or unnecessary walking, and limit activity during the first few days after surgery. Each operation is slightly different, and you may be told specifically how much weight bearing is allowed. If you are given a special shoe to use after surgery, you may not walk without it unless otherwise instructed by the doctor.

DO NOT use ice or heat over the surgical site.

If you are taking pain medication, there are common side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea. If these symptoms or an allergic reaction (i.e. rash, hives, or shortness of breath) occur, stop taking the medication and call our office. To prevent nausea, eat prior to taking the medication.

If anesthesia was used during surgery, you may have some side effects such as nausea, stomach upset, or malaise. Please call our office if any problems occur. We may need to place you in contact with the anesthesiologist.


Do not get the bandages wet. When bathing, either perform a sponge bath or hang the foot over the side of the tub. The safest way is to get into the empty tub with a shoe on, then elevate the foot outside the tub, and then fill the tub with water. Preferably, empty the tub prior to getting out. Showering is possible with commercial plastic foot protectors. Be very careful. The bathroom is a wet and slippery area. We recommend someone is available to assist you, especially when you are taking narcotics.

Do not remove your dressing unless specifically instructed to do so.

Do not walk on foot unless instructed by the Doctor.

Depending on your procedure, the post-operative care period usually lasts for approximately 6 to 8 weeks. During this time, periodic visits to the office will be required and your healing will be carefully attended. It is essential in terms of your future health that your feet be completely healed before you are discharged from medical care. If for some reason healing is not complete after this period, you will be instructed to return regularly until full healing has occurred. The importance of this care cannot be overemphasized.

Also, please understand that the post-operative course varies from patient to patient. These instructions are meant to serve as a guideline to a smoother recovery. They do not cover all aspects of your post-operative care and recovery. If you have any questions that have not been answered by these guidelines, please call our office for clarification.

If you develop a fever, chills or nights sweats associated with redness or drainage around the surgical wound, call the office immediately.

If you develop abnormal pain in the legs after surgery please call the office. Signs of blood clots in the legs/lungs include acute calf tenderness, swelling, or redness. Shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing up blood, sweating and increased heart rate may also occur.

You may be asked to perform range of motion exercises of the foot and legs to prevent post-op stiffness and blood clots.

We are interested in your complete and timely recovery. Your compliance with your discharge post-operative instructions is essential. Once again, Review and follow the discharge instructions that are given to you after surgery. This will optimize healing and minimize any possible complications.

Please call our office at 410-629-0222 to schedule a follow-up appointment after surgery if one has not already been scheduled.