Although some knee, foot, or ankle injuries call for rest and time to heal, many require more drastic treatment measures, such as surgery.
To achieve a speedy recovery, it’s important to understand how to prepare before and after surgery. Below you’ll find 7 ways to prepare for and recover from major knee, foot, or ankle surgery.
- Communicate With Your Care Provider
After your consultation and recommendation for surgery, you’ll likely set up a preoperative visit with your doctor. This is the time to come with questions regarding the surgery, recovery, and possible risks.
If you have concerns, write them down and share them with your physician. He or she will be able to answer any questions, which gives you time to mentally prepare. Understanding the process and its consequences will go a long way to helping you feel comfortable and in control.
- Take Inventory of Medications and Supplements
Upon scheduling you for surgery, your doctor will ask about any medications or supplements you currently take. This ensures that you aren’t taking anything that could cause excessive surgical bleeding or slow the healing process.
Make a list of any medications you’ve been prescribed, making note of the dosage. Although supplements have minimal effects, they can still impact your body chemistry, so be sure to list these as well.
When you inventory these medications, you also give your physician important information in prescribing any new medications, including those to help with pain.
- Discuss Pain Management and Rehabilitation
Along with speaking about expectations, worries, and medications, ask your doctor about pain management after the surgery. If you know of existing allergies or bad reactions to certain medications, let your doctor know so he or she can take your preferences into account.
It’s also important to know what to expect from the rehabilitation process. Setting reasonable, achievable goals is essential to maintain motivation after your surgery. Ask your doctor about the location and nature of your rehabilitation.
- Prepare to Take a Leave of Absence
If you know you’ll need work release documentation or disability payments, obtain the necessary paperwork from your doctor. Submit any relevant paperwork with plenty of time to spare so you won’t have to stress about it when you’re trying to recover.
Driving, exercise, and other activities take time to resume. Pain medications may also impact your ability to participate in such activities for a time. For this reason, ask a close friend or family member to help you until you’ve recovered. This includes help with meals, household chores, and transportation.
- Read and Follow All Given Instructions
Before your surgery, you’ll receive a form with basic instructions. Follow these carefully to prevent any problems during the procedure or later during recovery. This form could include the following directives:
- Refrain from eating or drinking anything after midnight the day prior to your surgery.
- Arrive in comfortable, easy-to-remove clothing.
- Remove all metal including hair accessories, jewelry, etc.
- Begin taking stool softener to ensure regularity.
Your doctor gives these instructions for a reason. Keep them in mind when you get the munchies the night before your surgery!
Whether it’s a leg brace, cane, or a walking cast, make sure you know what equipment you’ll need after the surgery. Talk with your doctor about approved methods for getting around, and how much (if any) weight you’re allowed to put on the injured area.
Movement-aiding scooters are particularly helpful for non-weight bearing transport. If you return to work or school shortly after your surgery, you’ll greatly appreciate the ability to move around quickly.
- Allow Outside Help
Let others help you recover. Inform friends and family so they can schedule time to come bring a meal or help in other ways.
The more you rest, the sooner you can get back to normal. Follow these seven steps to prepare for a successful knee, foot, or ankle surgery and recovery process.