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Post-Op Tips: Foot

At home, you play a major role in your recovery. The better you care for your foot, the faster you may heal. And the faster you heal, the sooner you can resume your normal activities. Follow your doctor’s instructions about how to care for your foot after surgery.

Person wearing towel in bathroom, using cane to walk. One leg in cast is covered with plastic bag.
A plastic bag over your foot taped securely to your leg helps keep your dressing or cast dry when bathing.

Bearing Weight

For the first few days, your doctor may recommend that you not bear weight on your foot. You may use a cane, crutches, or a walker to help you move around. Gradually, you may work up to putting more weight on your foot, as instructed by your doctor. 

Relieving Pain:

  • Take pain medication to relieve discomfort and antibiotics to prevent infection as you’re instructed.

  • To protect your foot, wear your surgical (post-op) shoe as recommended.

  • To help relieve pain and swelling, apply a bag of ice to your foot as instructed and elevate your foot above heart level the first few days.

Strengthening Your Foot

Your doctor may suggest ways to get your foot back in shape. You may be instructed to do exercises, possibly using weights. To help strengthen your foot, follow these tips:

  • Start out slowly, then increase repetitions as recommended.

  • Walking strengthens your foot because of the weight you put on it. For the first few weeks, walk only short distances if your doctor says that you can put weight on your foot. 

  • Physical therapy may also be recommended to help you strengthen your foot and increase its range of motion.


Follow Up with Your Doctor

You may visit your doctor the first week or two after surgery. He or she will remove your dressing, assess your incision, and apply a fresh dressing. Your sutures and your cast, if you have one, may be removed in two or more weeks. To make sure you’re healing properly, you may see your surgeon regularly for three months or more. You may need follow-up X-rays. 

Online Medical Reviewer: Chamberlain, Kevin, DO
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 8/16/2013
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