How painful is Foot & Ankle Surgery?

How painful is Foot & Ankle Surgery?

The decision to have foot or ankle surgery is up to you with the advice of your doctor. It is only you who knows the full scope of how your current foot or ankle condition is affecting your life. Only you know how much pain it is currently causing you. Your feet and ankles are complex parts of your musculoskeletal system that do a great deal to support your mobility in daily life. Surgery is a careful intervention that seeks to rectify the existing problem and not create new issues. However, even in the best circumstances foot and ankle surgery has been shown to increase pain postoperatively starting three days after the operation and extending up to six weeks after the operation. In this study of ninety-eight patients it was shown that the pain level after surgery was increased proportionately to the pain experienced before surgery. However, while your pain before surgery does not necessarily have an end date, your post-surgical pain should reduce after six weeks.

Your team of surgeons, doctors and nurses will do everything they can to reduce your pain levels. It is important that you comply with their instructions and prepare yourself to recuperate for these six weeks. There are several pain management options available for you post surgically. There are long lasting local anesthetics, strong anti-inflammatory drugs, pain pumps, and opiate pain relievers that may be prescribed. There are also several alternative options you may want to investigate including acupuncture, massage and herbal therapy, all of which have been shown to reduce the experience of pain in the body as well as promote healing.

To minimize pain, it is recommended that you take time for your recovery. If your job includes standing, walking or driving you may want to consider taking several weeks away from work to heal. Arranging for your care at home will also be important to minimize the risk of increased pain. You will also want to stop smoking or using any nicotine products well before and after your surgery. Smoking and nicotine will slow your healing process and increase the chance of infection which will increase your pain.

Your foot and ankle will be wrapped after your surgery and it is likely that you will have instructions to not bear any weight on the leg that was operated on. This is important to allow for healing and also to reduce pain.

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