In this article, we are going to discuss some general instructions to follow after your ankle surgery. Please note that these are general instructions. In the case that your physician has given you instructions that differ from these, please follow what you have been told directly by the doctor.

  • You may have a dressing and/or a splint on your operated extremity. These will remain on until your first office visit 3-10 days after surgery.
  • You may have ice on the area where you had surgery. This is used to reduce pain and swelling. Elevating the area on some pillows often can also relieve any discomfort.
  • Please do not put weight on your operated extremity.
  • It is OK to move your fingers or toes to increase circulation.
  • Keep the dressing clean and dry.
  • If you have had a nerve block, you may not be able to move your operated extremity immediately. The nerve block will wear off after surgery anywhere between 6-24 hours. This can vary significantly by individual.
  • You will receive a prescription for pain medication for your return home. Please remember to take it exactly as prescribed for the most effective results. This medication may make you constipated. If this occurs, over the counter stool softeners can help.

After Surgery at Home:

  • Keep the operated extremity in the dressing. It is OK to move your fingers/toes.
  • The dressing and splint should always stay on and dry. It will be removed in the office 3-10 days after surgery.
  • Please do not get the wound or dressing wet. To bathe or shower, either securely wrap a plastic bag around the dressing or keep the extremity out of the bathtub. If possible, having someone help you can make this much easier and reduce risk of getting your bandages wet.
  • Ice and elevate as necessary for 3-7 days. Cooling does help reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. If you eventually notice it is no longer offering relief, you may discontinue.
  • Physical therapy recommendations will be made during your first office visit after surgery.

Post-Op Office Visits:

  • Please arrange to see your surgeon in the office 3-10 days after surgery for a dressing change, wound check, x-rays, and further instructions.
  • Typically your surgeon will see you for a second office visit about 14-21 days after the surgery for another wound check and any necessary suture removal.
  • Physical therapy recommendations may be made at your first post-operative visit. An initial prescription is usually 2-3 times a week for 6 weeks. The total amount of physical therapy can last for up to 6 months. This varies by individual.
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