Foot Surgery: The After Instructions

You just had foot surgery and are recuperating from anesthesia in the recovery room when the nurse brings in a list of instructions that you are apparently supposed to adhere to. Why? What is so important about these rules that I must follow to the letter? What could possibly go wrong if I dont do what is asked of me 100%? Lets explore the possible.

Rule #1 Keep dressing clean, dry, and intact


  • Most of the time your dressing will include an ACE bandage that has been applied with some compression for the purpose of reducing, if not eliminating, post-operative swelling. If you remove the dressing you increase the chance of swelling which increases pain.
  • Your dressing also includes gauze padding and wraps for the purpose of absorbing any drainage from the incision as well as keeping the incision free from potential contamination and infection. Removal of these dressings may cause the incision to bleed.
  • Keeping the incision area dry is important in allowing the skin time to heal. If you get the incision site wet repeatedly you run the risk of macerating (softening) the skin which can lengthen healing time AND increase the risk of contamination and possible infection.

Rule #2 Walking in the Fancy, Fashionable, Flat soled Shoe/boot.If not on crutches


  • The purpose of this shoe is to reduce the pressure on your foot as well as reduce motion in the joints. These shoes are more commonly given for forefoot and midfoot type surgeries. If allowed to walk in your regular shoe gear directly after surgery, you run the risk of disrupting any correction performed as well as lengthen the time of tissue healing. Early weight bearing can even cause the stitches that are closing your incision site to break creating a wound. Again, an open wound can lead to contamination and infection.
  • If you have been told not to put any weight on your foot, then whatever correction that was performed may be more delicate and requires special care.

Rule #3 Elevate the foot/leg


  • This is one is simple, it helps reduce swelling thus reducing pain. Im not saying you have to lie down all day with your leg elevated. The point of this rule is that if you have been sitting up throughout the day and notice increased pain/swelling in your leg/foot, then elevating will help.

You might have other more specific rules, but these 3 are basic ones that you typically see. So the next time, if there is a next time, you happen to have foot surgery and come across these rules, you might think twice about not following through on them. Dr. Bowman gives written post-op instructions in detail so you will always know what to do and expect. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the health of your feet, please contact Dr. Bowman at 713-467-8886 or visit us online.

Category: Surgery

Tags: foot pain, Foot Surgery, Infections, Post Surgery