All About Ankle Surgery
If you have severely hurt your ankle, an orthopedic surgeon will often prescribe a non-invasive treatment method, such as bracing, NSAIDs, or physical therapy, rather than resorting to ankle surgery right away. However, there are times where an examination and diagnostic imaging such as X-rays will show that for optimal healing and structural repair of your ankle, surgery is your best option.
When to Know if Ankle Surgery is Right
Our ankles are weight-bearing joints, which along with the foot, provide the foundation for which we walk on. Our ankle allows us to walk and do many other activities and actions. Therefore, when the ankle becomes injured, our mobility, function, and even balance can be severely hindered. The pain from foot and ankle injuries and disorders are usually divided into two types, acute or chronic. Acute injuries are ones that happen suddenly, such as sprains and strains. A person may experience discomfort or pain in the ankle due to a number of other reasons, such as stress fractures, conditions such as Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, flat feet, and arthritis. For many, noninvasive care is usually the best course of action, but sometimes if these non-surgical treatment methods fail, surgical intervention is most likely needed to repair your ankle.
Ankle Surgery in Detail
Hearing the word surgery can be downright terrifying, as you often don’t know what to expect. Your ankle surgery date is fast approaching, which is nerve-wracking, as it can be difficult to follow all the pre-and post-op guidelines that your orthopedist has given you for before and after surgery. It is important to do your research and ask all the questions necessary to help ease you mind about your upcoming ankle surgery. Know that you will need time to recover, and rehabilitation will be crucial to helping the process. Here is a guide that can help you know what to expect about receiving ankle surgery.
Prior to Ankle Surgery
Before your day of ankle surgery, you need to be prepared to be out of work or away from activities for a certain period of time. You may need to keep weight off of the ankle for three to six months, depending on the severity of your case. Your physician will discuss the recovery process with you before and after surgery, so that you feel as comfortable as possible. The more involved you are in your care, the more successful the outcome will be. Stock up on all your favorite things, prepare your house for easy access, and make sure you have family and friends to help you if need be. Prior to your surgery, make sure you ask about medications and have everything handy, so that recovery will be a little bit less painful for you.
After Ankle Surgery
After surgery, you will have swelling and pain from the work done, mostly from the incision. Make sure to elevate it above your heart to help reduce swelling, along with using ice. Anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed to help with reducing swelling and pain. Hygiene and keeping the surgical site clean is crucial. Showering can be a challenge following surgery on the foot or ankle. It is important to shower in a manner that optimizes safety. Falls are common, and can cause further damage to the already healing ankle, or worse, another part of the body. Therefore, when showering, you should sit on a shower stool. Most importantly, it is critical that you follow the orthopedist’s instructions, and avoid any activities that will require you to put weight on your ankle for an extended period for the first few weeks. Today’s orthopedic surgeons are often able to surgically repair the ankle arthroscopically, which utilizes much smaller tools and subsequently requires a smaller incision. This means less pain, a shorter recovery time, and an increase in strength and mobility.
Find an Ankle Surgeon in Catonsville, Columbia, and Eldersburg
To learn more about ankle surgery and what to expect, request a consultation with our experienced foot and ankle specialist at Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland by calling our office at (410) 644-1880.