This sheet gives you information about how to care for yourself after your procedure. Your health care provider may also give you more specific instructions. If you have problems or questions, contact your health care provider.
What can I expect after the procedure?
Numbness in your foot. This should go away within 24 hours.
It may take 6 months before you can return to your regular activity level. However, complete recovery can take a year or longer.
Follow these instructions at home:
Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
If you were prescribed an antibiotic medicine, take it as told by your health care provider. Do not stop taking the antibiotic even if your condition improves.
- Ask your health care provider if the medicine prescribed to you:
Requires you to avoid driving or using heavy machinery.
- Can cause constipation. You may need to take these actions to prevent or treat constipation:
Drink enough fluid to keep your urine pale yellow.
Take over-the-counter or prescription medicines.
Eat foods that are high in fiber, such as beans, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Limit foods that are high in fat and processed sugars, such as fried and sweet foods.
If you have a splint or boot:
Wear the splint or boot as told by your health care provider. Remove it only as told by your health care provider.
Loosen it if your toes tingle, become numb, or turn cold and blue.
Keep it clean and dry.
If you have a cast:
Do not put pressure on any part of the cast until it is fully hardened. This may take several hours.
Do not stick anything inside the cast to scratch your skin. Doing that increases your risk of infection.
Check the skin around the cast every day. Tell your health care provider about any concerns.
You may put lotion on dry skin around the edges of the cast. Do not put lotion on the skin underneath the cast.
Keep it clean and dry.
Do not take baths, swim, or use a hot tub until your health care provider approves. Ask your health care provider if you may take showers. You may only be allowed to take sponge baths.
- If the splint, boot, or cast is not waterproof:
Do not let it get wet.
Cover it with a watertight covering when you take a bath or a shower.
- Follow instructions from your health care provider about how to take care of your incision. Make sure you:
Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you change your bandage (dressing). If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer.
Change your dressing as told by your health care provider.
Leave stitches (sutures) or staples in place. These skin closures may need to stay in place for 2 weeks or longer.
- If you have a removable splint or boot, check your incision area every day for signs of infection. Check for:
More redness, swelling, or pain.
Fluid or blood.
Pus or a bad smell.
Managing pain, stiffness, and swelling
- If directed, put ice on the injured area. To do this:
If you have a removable splint or boot, remove it as told by your health care provider.
Put ice in a plastic bag.
Place a towel between your skin and the bag or between your cast and the bag.
Leave the ice on for 20 minutes, 2–3 times a day.
Move your toes often to reduce stiffness and swelling.
Raise (elevate) your leg above the level of your heart while you are sitting or lying down.
Do not walk on or put weight on your injured leg. Use crutches or another walking aid, such as a walking boot.
Follow instructions from your health care provider on how to move your ankle and how much weight you can put on your leg. If you have a cast, boot, or splint, you should receive these instructions after it is removed.
Follow your rehab plan. Do exercises as told by your health care provider or physical therapist.
Do not return to physical activity or sports until you are cleared by your health care provider or physical therapist.
Ask your health care provider when it is safe to drive if you have a splint, boot, or cast on your leg.
See a physical therapist if directed by your health care provider.
Do not use any products that contain nicotine or tobacco, such as cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and chewing tobacco. These can delay incision healing after surgery. If you need help quitting, ask your health care provider.
Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important. If you have a cast or splint, your health care provider will remove it about 2 weeks after surgery. If you have sutures, they will also be removed during this time.
Contact a health care provider if:
You have chills.
- You have any of these signs of infection:
More redness, swelling, or pain around your incision.
Fluid or blood coming from your incision.
Warmth coming from your incision.
Pus or a bad smell coming from your incision.
Your pain medicine is not working.
You have persistent numbness, tingling, or burning in your foot or toes.
Your splint, boot, or cast feels too tight, even after loosening the splint or boot.
You cannot wiggle your toes.
You notice cracks or soft spots on your cast.
Get help right away if:
You have severe swelling, pain, or numbness that is getting worse.
You are bleeding through your splint, boot, or cast.
You have chest pain.
You have trouble breathing.
After your procedure, it is common to have pain and numbness in your foot. Numbness should go away within 24 hours after surgery.
If you have a splint or boot, loosen it if your toes tingle, become numb, or turn cold and blue. Keep the splint or boot clean and dry.
If you have a cast, do not put pressure on it until it hardens. To avoid infections, do not stick objects under the cast to scratch the skin and do not put lotion under the cast. Keep the cast clean and dry.
Follow instructions about caring for your incision, avoiding some activities, taking medicines, and keeping follow-up visits.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.