Post-Operative FAQs: Do I change my dressings after surgery? No, traditionally you will leave your dressing, splint, or cast clean, dry, and intact until your post-operative appointment. The surgeon will give you instructions if you should change it. If your dressing gets slightly wet, you can air dry it.Please contact our department if your dressing is completely soaked through, or if you are having any discomfort. How do I keep the dressing dry? The easiest way to keep your dressing dry is with a cast bag. They can be purchased at most major pharmacies or can be found on Amazon. Depending on your bathroom and type of surgery, a shower chair can also be helpful. These can be either rented or purchased. Is bleeding normal on my dressing after surgery? Yes, depending on the type and location of the surgery, you can get up to a baseball size amount of bleeding on your dressing. Most of the bleeding should stop 24 hours after surgery. If you notice bleeding, elevate your foot above your heart and monitor closely. Should you have concerns about the bleeding, please contact the Department of Foot & Ankle Surgery via the patient portal or by phone. How long should I elevate my leg? We recommend that you elevate your leg as much as possible the first 3 days after surgery. Dependent on the type of surgery, it may be longer. You should elevate the foot to a level in between your heart and waist. Updated instructions will be given to you after your first post-operative visit. It is normal to have increased pain when your foot or ankle is not elevated for the first week after surgery. Where and how long should I ice after surgery? Icing is very important postoperatively to help reduce swelling. Depending on the location of the surgery, you can either ice directly on the surgical site, around the ankle, or behind the knee, if you have a splint or cast on. We recommend icing for 30-40 minutes at a time and then removing the ice for 30 minutes. If you have a polar ice machine, you can leave the pad on more consistently. We recommend you place a thin towel between the ice bag and your skin when icing. The re-freezable flexible ice bags work well after surgery as do bags of frozen peas (they mold well to the foot and can be re-frozen). Will I have pain after the surgery? How long will the pain last? All patients have some type of discomfort following surgery. The severity and duration of the pain depends on the type of surgery you are having and the type of anesthesia provided. Your surgeon will discuss personalized pain management and prescribe your pain medication as needed. However, icing and elevation can also significantly help reduce swelling which also can help reduce pain. Pain medication will help diminish your discomfort but may not completely resolve all pain. Most patients take pain medication for 3-7 days after surgery depending on the type of surgery. You should take your pain medication with food in your stomach and avoid rich, greasy, and spicy foods after surgery. Can I walk on my foot after surgery? This answer depends on the type of surgery you are having. Your surgeon will review your postoperative course with you. Many of our patients, however, do require the use of crutches, a cane, a walker, a rolling walker, a knee scooter or a wheelchair. Crutches will be dispensed to you in the office at your preoperative visit. If you need a cane, walker, knee scooter or wheelchair, you will be given a prescription for this. These items can either be rented or purchased. Dependent on the length of need and your insurance, sometimes it is cheaper to purchase the item. Insurances may or may not cover the cost of these items. For medical equipment purchases or rentals, Carle Medical Supply has store locations in Champaign, Urbana, Danville Mattoon, and Normal. You also may require also a surgical shoe or CAM boot after surgery. This will be dispensed to you in the office at your preoperative visit. Instructions will also be given at that time about how to use it. If you experience hip or back pain while walking in the boot, you can purchase an EVENup Shoe Balancer at Body N’ Sole in Savoy or on Amazon to wear on the opposite shoe. When do my stitches come out? Skin in the foot and ankle usually takes 2-3 weeks to heal. Dependent on the type and location of your surgery, youmay have absorbable stitches, non-absorbable stitches, or staples. You also may have steri-strips over the incision. Your provider will discuss the removal process at your post-op appointment. When can I drive? You will need someone to take you home after surgery. We recommend you not drive while you are taking pain medications. If you are having surgery on your right foot, it is recommended you not drive until you can get a shoe on your right foot comfortably. Please discuss this with your surgeon prior to driving.