Preparing for foot and ankle surgery involves both physical and mental preparation to be in the best possible condition and ensure a faster and smooth recovery.
To adequately prepare, you need to focus on three key aspects: preparing your body, preparing your mind, and modifying your home. Below, we discuss each one of these and give you useful tips on how to prepare for foot and ankle surgery.
#1 Preparing Your Body for Surgery
A healthier body will have an easier and faster recovery from foot and ankle surgery. Therefore, try to create the best possible condition for optimal healing:
- Follow preoperative instructions: Your foot and ankle surgeon will provide specific instructions regarding preoperative protocols, such as fasting requirements and medication restrictions. You will be instructed not to eat or drink anything, including water, for a specified period of time before the procedure in order to minimize the risk of complications with anesthesia.
In addition, the doctor will also provide specific instructions on which medications to stop taking before the surgery, which may include blood thinners, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and herbal supplements, as these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with the anesthesia used for surgery.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Keep your body as healthy as possible in preparation for the surgery. Eat a nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to support your immune system and promote healing. Stay hydrated and limit alcohol consumption. Now is the best time to quit smoking, as it can delay healing in postoperative patients. Engage in regular exercise if permitted by your surgeon, as it can help improve cardiovascular health and can help speed up healing.
- Manage pre-existing medical conditions: If you have any chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, work closely with your primary care physician to ensure they are well-controlled before surgery. Foot and ankle surgery is usually not recommended for patients with uncontrolled chronic medical conditions, as it increases the risk of complications during and after the procedure.
#2 Prepare Yourself Mentally for Foot and Ankle Surgery
Secondly, mental preparation for the surgery is also critical. It is vital to help manage anxiety and promote a positive mindset throughout the recovery process.
- Educate yourself about the surgery: Whether you’re having fixation or fusion surgery, bunion or hammertoe surgery, surgery to relieve a compressed tibial nerve, or treatment for a ruptured Achilles tendon, you need to discuss it in detail with your podiatric surgeon. You also need to be on the same page regarding your expectations after surgery.
- Seek support: You could need some assistance following surgery. For example, a trusted companion needs to sign your release from the facility. Talk to your family or friends about your needs for assistance immediately after your procedure and at home during recovery.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Engage in activities that promote relaxation and stress reduction, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, and gentle stretching. These practices can help calm your mind and prepare you mentally for the surgery.
#3 Prepare Your Home for Recovery
You need to create safe conditions for recovery after surgery. Prior to foot surgery, make modifications to ensure a comfortable and safe environment in your home. Clear away clutter, which can become tripping hazards, arrange essential items to be within easy reach, and secure handrails, if necessary. Use non-slip mats or rugs in the bathroom and other areas and consider getting a shower chair or bath bench for bathing. Think of mobility limitations to guide you and try to minimize going up and down the stairs, as you will likely be in a cast or boot and using crutches to get around.
A well-prepared body, mind, and home will contribute to a smoother surgical experience and a more successful recovery.
Top Foot and Ankle Surgeons in San Antonio, Boerne, Hondo, Floresville, Kenedy, Uvalde, and Live Oak, TX
The podiatric surgeons at The Podiatry Group of South Texas have advanced training and years of experience performing the most cutting-edge techniques for foot and ankle surgery. Our specializations include limb salvage surgery or amputation, reconstructive foot surgery, and arthroscopy. We have a friendly and supportive team and are happy to help you prepare for your surgery.