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Phone: 978-794-8406
Mitchell Wachtel D.P.M.

What to Expect From Foot Surgery

Many foot conditions can be treated conservatively by a podiatrist or even at home using conservative remedies. However, there are certain cases when surgical foot treatment becomes necessary. If a doctor recommends surgery, it’s important to follow all at-home and post-op instructions to ensure that your foot surgery recovery time is speedy.

Prior to Surgery

If you and your doctor have exhausted all conservative means to treat your foot condition without improvement, it may be time to resort to surgery. Foot surgery is not to be taken lightly. It will require a large amount of time spent off of your feet and in bed. In fact, there are things you need to do to prepare yourself and your home for such a major undertaking.

Make sure things are in order at home and that everything is post-op friendly. This means getting a shower stool and handle bars put in place for your bathroom. If you have a two-story house, you may wish to move your bedding downstairs to eliminate the difficulty of maneuvering steps. Make sure you have a support system in place with people who are willing to help you out in whatever way you need. Lastly, make sure your pre-op tests are done by a doctor who you can trust to answer all of your questions and concerns.

Types of Surgery

There are many different types of surgeries for many different types of foot conditions. Just an example: To fix a bunion, there are over 100 options to choose from. Here are a few surgeries that exist for the feet:

  • Fusion - typically used in arthritic conditions to hold bones in place. They are usually done with pins or plates.
  • Tendon surgery - can be done to shorten or elongate a tendon that has ruptured or is causing pain.
  • Hammertoe surgery - typically done by realigning the bones so that the toe lays in the correct position.
  • Neuroma surgery - involves removing some of the nerves. It’s one of the easiest surgeries to recover from, but may result in permanent numbness.
  • Heel surgery - usually done with plantar fasciitis patients. It can be a fascia release or a heel spur removal.

Post-Operative Care

For most people, the topic of pain is the most talked about with regards to post-operative recovery. There are a number of different pain relief methods from which to choose. Nerve blocks will cause numbness, narcotics will relieve pain but may cause sleepiness, while an anti-inflammatory may ease pain but can cause nausea. It is crucial to follow your doctor’s orders. If you fail to do so, you may cause long-lasting damage or subject yourself to a longer healing process.

The first few days, you will simply be resting and elevating your feet. Make sure not to get the stitches wet, but keep them clean. Ice your feet so that swelling will stay at a minimum. Slowly get back to being on your feet. You may need to use crutches for a while. Do not push yourself harder or further than your body can handle. Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy to build up muscle strength or an orthotic to keep your foot in a certain position.

Getting a Doctor’s Opinion

For more information about foot surgery recovery or surgical foot treatment, call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel at (978) 794-8406 to schedule an appointment in our Lowell, MA, office. Our office also has more information about foot care on our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages!