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Understanding Your Foot or Ankle Surgery

Find out what to expect when your podiatrist recommends surgery for your foot or ankle condition at EvergreenHealth.

Why Do You Need Surgery?

You may feel uneasy about having foot or ankle surgery. Together, you and your doctor will discuss about why surgery is your best treatment option and what the benefits and risks are. Usually doctors recommend surgery:

  • As a preventive measure to keep your condition from getting worse
  • When nonsurgical treatments do not provide you with the desired pain relief or ability to continue your day to day activities

Preparing for Surgery

Your doctor will partner with you to understand:

  • How to prepare for surgery
  • What kind of pain control you'll have before, during, and after surgery
  • How long your expected recovery is in the hospital or at home
  • What physical therapy or assistive devices (crutches, walker, wheelchair) you may need during recovery
  • When you can resume regular activities like driving and going back to work

At-Home Preparation

Plan and prepare your home for safe recovery because you won't be able to walk for a while. Make sure you:

  • Arrange for friends and family to run errands for you and help with household chores
  • Remove cords, throw rugs, and other items that could pose a hazard to you when moving around your home
  • Create an area where your essentials are handy (phone, reading material, computer, medications, etc.)
  • Shop for supplies you'll need during recovery

Day Before Your Surgery

The day before surgery, follow the instructions your doctor and our staff give you to prepare for surgery. You may need to:

  • Stop eating and drinking after midnight the night before surgery
  • Stop taking some prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Plan for a caregiver to come with you and be available to drive you home

After Your Surgery

Follow your EvergreenHealth surgeon's instructions to make your recovery go smoothly. Care for yourself when you return home by:

  • Taking pain medication as prescribed by your doctor
  • Following your doctor's advice to reduce foot or ankle swelling (e.g., keeping your foot slightly raised or using ice)
  • Removing bandages when instructed to protect your incision
  • Keeping your surgical incision dry and clean when bathing

Post-Surgery Complications

Contacting your doctor if your experience any problems after foot or ankle surgery, such as:

  • Blue or white toes or toenail beds
  • Fever above 102 degrees
  • Foul odor from your incision
  • Lots of blood on the dressing
  • Redness
  • Severe pain not relieved with medication
  • Severe swelling or pain in the calf
  • Toes, foot, and/or ankle that become cold or turn pale

Returning to Work

Your doctor will let you know when you can go back to work based on your condition and expected recovery time.

Make An Appointment

Call (425) 899-4650 in Kirkland or (360) 794-3300 in Monroe to make an appointment with one of our Foot & Ankle Care specialists.

One-Stop Shop

Get all of your orthopedic care in one place—EvergreenHealth's Neuroscience, Spine & Orthopedic Institute in Kirkland. Our comprehensive team of experts collaborate in orthopedics, sports medicine, physiatry, neurology, physical therapy, pain management and more.

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