Ankle surgery is common. Not only as athletes but as standing human beings, our feet and ankles endure the impact of our entire body weight. Twisting, spraining, fracturing, and breaking of the foot can happen with a misstep, high impact running, or even unfitting high-heeled shoes. The decision of whether or not to have surgery depend on a number of factors:
- Chronic foot and ankle pain, including pain with motion
- Joint swelling, warmth, and redness
- Tenderness when applying pressure to the joint
Basically, if your quality of life is being affected by pain in your feet or ankles, you may be a candidate for ankle surgery. To get all your questions answered, contact your top Phoenix Ankle Surgeon.
Benefits of Ankle Surgery
Your Phoenix ankle surgeon may consider non-surgical means before recommending surgery. This can include bracing, injection with corticosteroid drugs, and changing your activities. If non-surgical methods don’t provide you relief, ankle surgery may be your next step. The main advantage of ankle surgery is the alleviation of pain as well as (depending on the surgery):
- Improved quality of life
- Increased mobility and movement
- Ability to return to the competitive sport of your choice
- Ability to walk, stand, and run
- Ability to return to normal activities
Preparing for Surgery
An important step you can take to prepare for ankle surgery is to prepare your home. If your bedroom is upstairs, consider creating a home base on the ground floor because stairs may be difficult for a while. Gather things you need such as your phone, tv remote, computer, clock, books, snacks, medications, anything you can think of that you will need handy. Another thing to consider is having a shower stool in the bathroom and allow for clear paths from room to room.
Speak with your orthopedic surgeon early on about what medications you currently take. He/she will let you know whether you need to tweak your medication regimen in the days or weeks leading up to surgery. It’s important to quit smoking in the weeks leading up to surgery, as being under anesthetics while regularly smoking can cause lung and heart complications.
Questions to ask before ankle surgery
- What would happen if I wait six months? One year?
- What complications can occur with this kind of surgery?
- How many days will I be in the hospital after surgery?
- What is the expected recovery time?
- Will I have physical therapy? If so, how often and for how long?
- How soon will I be able to walk after surgery?
- When can I shower after surgery?
- How soon will I be able to resume normal lifestyle activities (e.g., work, sports, housework, gardening, etc.)?
The day before ankle surgery
We recommend packing an overnight bag that includes everything that is part of your grooming routine, including a change of clothes, your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, or hairbrush. Take a shower the night before and be sure to avoid eating or drinking after midnight unless your anesthesiologist says otherwise.
Every injury and everyone’s bodies heal at their own pace, but it will typically take at least six weeks for your bones to heal. Additionally, if you’ve torn ligaments or tendons, the healing time will be longer. It’s important to refrain from movement to allow yourself to heal and avoid the risk of re-injury.
You will continue to meet with your orthopedic surgeon for checkups and x-rays to observe how the healing process is going, and eventually be instructed that it’s okay to put weight on your foot. Once you are healed, you will most likely be instructed to undergo rehabilitation, such as physical therapy. This will allow you to holistically strengthen and regain full motion in your ankle, anywhere from a few months to a year to get back to normal. Following your surgeon’s advice about how you care for your wound as well as being aware of how much weight you are allowed to put through your foot, and consistently executing on exercises you’ve been prescribed to do, all will allow for a smooth recovery.
An important factor of healing is rest. Rest not only relieves pressure from your ankle but utilizing the power of sleep has been proven restorative for our bodies.
Any surgery is not to be taken lightly. Proper information prior to surgery as well as precautions post-surgery will ensure a successful transformation from difficulty to an improved quality of life. If you’re thinking you may benefit from ankle surgery, contact our orthopedic surgeons to discover your options. You are welcome to schedule a consultation for a full evaluation of your pain as well as receive recommendations from our well-known community-oriented and experienced surgeons.