1. Start taking pain medicines even before the anesthesia wears off completely. Toughing out the pain only prolongs the healing process.
The doctor will most likely prescribe opioids, which can be addictive. They should only be taken under the doctor’s supervision, and the patient must stop taking them when they are no longer in pain. This should happen about a week after the surgery.
2. The doctor prescribes antibiotics to prevent infection, and the patient should be careful to take the entire course of antibiotics even if they feel well. The patient may also wish to take their temperature on a regular basis, for an elevated temperature is a sign that an infection is in the offing.
3. Avoid getting the stitches or bandages wet. This means the patient should avoid baths, showers or swimming. Wet dressings and stitches increase the risk of infection and can cause tissue to slough off. Even if this is avoided, there’s a risk of the patient slipping and falling on a wet surface because their balance is impaired.
If a patient feels they must bathe, they’ll need to keep their foot out of the water or cover it with a plastic bag or another waterproof garment.
4. The patient needs to favor the foot that was operated on even if they have a brace or crutches. Patients should not try to drive until the bones in their foot are healed. This is especially important if the right foot was the one operated on.
5. Relieve inflammation and pain at the surgical site with ice compresses. Do not put ice directly on the foot. Elevating the foot also helps reduce swelling.
6. When it’s time to wear shoes, make sure they are roomy. Women should avoid high heels for at least half a year after their bunion surgery, and some doctors recommend that their patients never wear high heels again.
7. Do the exercises recommend by the physical therapist if the doctor recommends one. These include passive and active range of motion exercises. During the passive range of motion exercises, the therapist manipulates the person’s foot while the patient lies on a treatment table. These kinds of exercises are done soon after the surgery. Active range of motion exercises are done by the patient without the therapist’s help and include picking up marbles with their toes, use of a resistance band to allow them to stretch their foot and ankle, walking and some weight bearing exercises.
RIVERA FOOT & ANKLE: At Orlando H.Rivera DPM, our priority is to deliver quality care to informed patients in a comfortable and convenient setting. When you have problems with your feet, you need to turn to a podiatrist who listens and responds… an experienced doctor who knows the field and can effectively diagnose and treat your needs… a friendly physician who counsels you on the best ways to maintain and improve your health. Our physician(s) meet all these criteria. Plus, you benefit from a dedicated team of trained professionals who give you the individualized attention you deserve.
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