1 Have your prescriptions filled immediately. If you have been given an antibiotic, finish the entire amount. With pain medications – do not drink alcohol.
2 Keep your bandage(s) clean and dry for the first day (24 hours). Do not attempt to “inspect” the wound.
3 Stay off your foot for the first day (24 hours).
4 Elevate your foot/feet on two (2) pillows – above your body.
5 Place an ice bag or ice wrapped in plastic in a towel, on the ankle or behind the bandage for the first half hour of every hour for the first day.
6 AFTER 24 HOURS: Remove the entire bandage (unless instructed otherwise). Clean the wound by washing it with salt water or an antibacterial soap (Dial, Safeguard, Phisohex). Soak the foot or feet in a quart of warm water mixed with two (2) tablespoonfuls of Epsom salts. Soak 10-15 minutes twice a day.
7 After soaking, pat dry with clean tissue or sterile gauze pad. Place a thin layer of antibiotic ointment (Betadine, Povidone Iodine, Bacitracin) on the wound and cover with sterile band-aid or gauze and paper tape.
· The bandages become soaked with blood.
· The medication you have been given does not control the pain.
· You develop a fever greater than 101 degrees F.
· You see pus in the wound or red streaks on your foot, ankle or leg.
· You have severe nausea, vomiting or uncontrolled diarrhea.
You had ankle surgery. This surgery is performed for a variety of reasons. You and your doctor discussed your condition and the surgery before the procedure. Here are instructions that will help you care for your ankle when you are at home.
· Plan to stay on the first floor of your home as much as possible for the first week after the surgery.
· Arrange your household to keep the items you need handy.
· Remove electrical cords, throw rugs, and anything else that may cause you to fall.
· Use nonslip bath mats, grab bars, an elevated toilet seat, and a shower chair in your bathroom.
· Use a cane, crutches, a walker, or handrails until your balance, flexibility, and strength improve. And remember to ask for help from others when you need it.
· Free up your hands so that you can use them to keep balance. Do this by using a fanny pack, apron, or pockets to carry things.
· Follow the weight-bearing instructions given to you by your doctor. He or she will tell you how much weight you are—or are not—allowed to put on your ankle.
· Do all exercises you learned in the hospital, as instructed by your doctor.
· Don’t drive until your doctor says it’s okay. And never drive if you are taking narcotic pain medication.
· Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding care for your dressing, splint, or cast. A supportive dressing, splint, or cast may be applied after surgery to protect your ankle as it heals.
· Avoid soaking your ankle in water until your incisions are completely closed and dried.
· Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding showering. He or she will tell you when you can begin showering again. Then shower as needed. Carefully cover your ankle with plastic to keep the dressing, splint, or cast dry. To avoid falling while showering, sit on a shower stool or chair.
· Use an ice pack or bag of frozen peas—or something similar—wrapped in a thin towel to reduce the swelling. Keep the foot elevated. Apply the ice pack for 20 minutes; then remove it for 20 minutes. Repeat as needed.
· Take pain medication as directed.
· Sleep with 2 pillow(s) under your knee and ankle. Keep your ankle elevated above the level of your heart when sitting in a chair or on the couch.
· Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Call 911 right away if you have any of the following:
· Chest pain
· Shortness of breath
· Painful calf that is tender and warm to the touch
Otherwise, call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:
· An ankle splint, cast, or dressing that has become wet
· Swelling in the foot, ankle or calf that is not relieved by elevating the feet
· Fever above 100.4°F or shaking chills
· Increased pain with or without activity
· Drainage, redness, or warmth at the incision
· Opening of the incision
· Increased pain with or without activity
It is normal to have the following
· Bruising and slight swelling of the foot and toes
· A small amount of blood on the dressing
Arrange to have an adult drive you home after surgery. If you had general anesthesia, it may take a day or more to fully recover. So, for at least the next 24 hours: Do not drive or use machinery or power tools; do not drink alcohol; and do not make any major decisions.
· Start with liquids and light foods (such as dry toast, bananas, and applesauce). As you feel up to it, slowly return to your normal diet. Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water or other nonalcoholic fluids a day.
Call the doctor if you have:
· Continuous bleeding through the bandage
· Excessive swelling, increased bleeding, or redness
· Fever over 100.1°F or chills
· Pain unrelieved by pain medications
· Foot feels cold to the touch or numb
· Increased ache in your leg or foot
· Chest pain or shortness of breath
· Anything unusual that concerns you
· Take all medications as instructed.
· Take pain medications on time. Do not wait until the pain is bad before taking your medications.
· Avoid alcohol while on pain medications.
· Sit or lie down when possible. Put a pillow under your heel to raise your foot above the level of your heart.
· Wrap an ice pack or bag of frozen peas in a thin cloth. Place it over your bandaged foot for no longer than 20 minutes. Do this 3 time(s) a day.
· You can drive again in 7 day(s).
· Wear your surgical shoe at all times unless told otherwise by your health care provider.
· Use crutches or a cane as directed.
Bandage and Cast Care
· Do not shower for 48 hours.
· When you can shower again, cover the bandage or cast with a plastic bag to keep it dry.
· Remove the bandage after 4 days.