Our feet handle a lot of stress with each step we take, and because they may be in a weakened state following a surgical procedure, a number of patients who undergo a foot or ankle operation will be required to be non-weightbearing for a period of time after surgery. This helps to protect the foot and ensure healing gets off to a great start, but not being able to use one of your feet for a while can make life a little more difficult. With that in mind, we wanted to share some tips for making life a bit easier if you have to be non-weightbearing for a while after your foot or ankle operation.

Getting Around While You’re Non-Weightbearing

If you need to avoid putting any weight on your foot for a few days or weeks, you may be wondering how you’ll get around. After all, you’re not going to hop everywhere on one foot. Here’s a look at three of the most common mobility devices if you want to avoid putting strain on one foot.

  • Crutches – Crutches are largely considered the gold standard, and a version of the tool has been around for ages. These pole-like devices rest under your armpits and act as support when you stride with your non-weightbearing leg so that it bears no stress. It is crucial to find an adjustable set of crutches so that they can be fitted to your height.
  • Knee Scooter – A knee scooter allows you to bear stress on your knee instead of the foot. With one leg, you’ll kneel on an elevated scooter and propel yourself using your uninjured foot. These are very similar to a scooter you may see a child riding during the summertime, but the base is elevated to the correct height so that you’re still quite upright and can easily push off the ground with your other foot.
  • Seated Scooter – Another option for mobility is the seated scooter. You’ll be sitting in an upright position and have handlebars to help guide the scooter, which will still be propelled by foot power, although some versions can be powered by electricity.
  • Walking Boot – A protective walking boot helps to limit how much stress is placed on the foot and ankle area. Many patients who are non-weightbearing will eventually transition to a walking boot to gradually expose the foot to more stress. This is not an option if you have been told that you must be completely non-weightbearing.

Making Mobility Easier After Ankle Surgery

Figuring out how you’ll get around is a great start, but there’s more that you’ll want to account for if you can’t bear weight on your foot for a period of time after surgery. Here are some tips for making life a bit easier if you’re using crutches or another non-weightbearing device after an operation.

  • Prep Your House – Before surgery, prepare your house for your return. Pick up tripping hazards, do laundry and make some healthy, easy-to-reheat meals. Cooking and cleaning won’t be easy on one foot, so do as much as you can ahead of time.
  • Get A Backpack – Your arms will be otherwise engaged when you’re using your crutches or mobility devices, so you’re not going to be able to carry much in your arms. Invest in a backpack or similar carrying option so that you can bring things with you wherever you go.
  • Arraign Rides – If you have a manual transmission or your operation was on your right foot, you’re not going to be able to drive while you’re non-weightbearing. Work to arraign rides well in advance so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.
  • Stay Within Your Doctor’s Recommendations – Finally, make sure that you stay within the limits and restrictions imposed by your care team. If you’re not careful, you can suffer a setback, and that can lead to even more time on a mobility device. If you’re wondering if certain restrictions can be lifted, ask your care team first.

If you follow these tips and trust your care to an experienced orthopedic surgeon like Dr. McDonald, we’re confident that you’ll thrive during your non-weightbearing time. For more information, or for help with your foot and ankle condition, reach out to Dr. McDonald’s office today at (860) 244-8889.

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