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Discharge Instructions for Foot Surgery

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.

Diet

  • 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.

  • To avoid nausea, eat before taking opioid pain medications.

Medications

  • 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.

Activity

  • 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 days or as instructed by your physician.

  • Wear your surgical shoe at all times unless told otherwise by your healthcare provider.

  • Use crutches or a cane as directed.

  • Follow your doctor’s instructions about putting weight on your foot.

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.

  • Don’t remove your bandage until your doctor tells you to. If your bandage gets wet or dirty, check with your doctor. You can likely replace it with a clean, dry one.

What to expect

It is normal to have the following:

  • Bruising and slight swelling of the foot and toes

  • A small amount of blood on the dressing

Call the doctor if you have:

  • Continuous bleeding through the bandage

  • Excessive swelling, increased bleeding, or redness

  • Fever over 100.4°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

Online Medical Reviewer: Dobbs, Bruce M, DPM
Online Medical Reviewer: Lehnert, Bruce, DPM
Last Review Date: 6/15/2012
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.