If you have undergone foot or ankle surgery, you’re probably curious about what the recovery process entails. First off, you should know that the journey will be long and, at times, frustrating. After all, limited mobility can preclude you from doing many of the things that you have probably been taking for granted, such as driving or going for a walk, for example.
HOW LONG IS THE RECOVERY TIME FOLLOWING FOOT OR ANKLE SURGERY?
On average, most people will make a full recovery within 3 to 4 months. This time frame includes a complete return in mobility and a significant reduction in swelling and tenderness. It is important to note, however, that foot and ankle surgery can be complicated, and most podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons will agree that the foot and ankle are among the most complex areas of the human body. So while 3 to 4 months is the average, it can sometimes take a full year to recover from foot or ankle surgery; additional factors that can influence healing time include
- General health
- Patient compliance
RECOVERY AND REHABILITATION
A critical part of the recovery process is post-surgery rehabilitation. Following your surgery, your orthopedic surgeon will advise you on the type of rehabilitation exercises that can help speed up the healing process. In most cases, he or she will recommend range or motion and strength-building exercises that you can perform in the privacy of your own home. Of course, depending on the severity of your foot or ankle injury and the type of surgery needed, it may be necessary to work with a physiotherapist when performing your rehabilitation exercises. While you may be tempted to rush through the recovery process, it is important to listen to your body and follow the advice of your orthopedic surgeon and physiotherapist before attempting to resume normal activities.
FOOTWEAR AND RECOVERY
Although sometimes overlooked, footwear can play a critical role in recovering from foot or ankle surgery. Generally speaking, patients are advised not to wear standard footwear for the first 8 weeks following surgery as this will help keep pain to a minimum and can help reduce swelling. It is also a good idea to avoid placing to much weight on your foot or ankle while healing. Studies show that putting too much weight on a foot or ankle that was recently operated on can quickly undo the corrective treatments associated with the surgery. If you do have to walk, it would be a good idea to use a cane or a walker to help minimize the amount of weight that will be placed on the feet and legs.
All in all, it can take several weeks to recover from a foot or ankle surgery. However, following the advice of your surgeon and physiotherapist can go a long way toward speeding up your healing time and allowing you to resume your normal activities.
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