Foot surgery recovery: Essential tips and tricks

If you’ve recently had an operation on your foot, such as Singapore bunion surgery, you may be wondering how you can help encourage the healing process.

In this article we share tips to help you get up and about as soon as you can after foot surgery. 

What is foot surgery?

But first, let’s quickly look at some of the different types of operations people can have on their feet. Foot surgery covers a wide range of procedures that are intended to help a number of different foot conditions and injuries. Here are some of the most common types of foot surgery carried out:

  • Bunionectomy: This operation involves the removal of a bunion (the bony bump on the base of your big toe). It usually involves realigning the bones of your big toe joint, and sometimes removing excess bone or tissue.
  • Hammertoe correction: If one or more of your toes bend abnormally at the middle joint (so they resemble a hammer – hence the name), this surgery corrects it by realigning your toe joint, removing bone spurs, or fusing the joint.
  • Plantar fascia release: Plantar fasciitis is a common condition in which your plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot, becomes inflamed. In this surgery, your plantar fascia is partly cut to reduce tension and heel pain.
  • Achilles tendon repair: Your Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to your heel bone, and is the largest tendon in your body. If your Achilles tendon is ruptured, this surgery will aim to repair it. 
  • Arthroscopic surgery: Arthroscopic foot surgery uses small incisions and a tiny camera (an arthroscope) to diagnose and treat foot conditions such as arthritis, cartilage damage and joint injuries.
  • Fusion surgery: In fusion surgery (also known as arthrodesis), the surgeon will fuse two or more bones in your foot or ankle together to stabilize a joint, reduce pain, or correct deformities. You may be recommended fusion surgery for severe arthritis or some foot fractures.

These are just a small selection of foot surgeries that may be recommended for your specific needs. The type of surgery you are booked in for will depend on your diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment goals.

How to recover from foot surgery

Now we’ve covered some of the most common types of foot surgery, let’s explore advice on how you can best recover from an operation. 

Undergoing foot surgery can be a worrying time – whether it’s a minor procedure or a major operation – and your recovery process will play a vital role in helping improve your mobility and overall wellbeing. With the right care and guidance, you will find your recovery process smoother, quicker and less painful. 

So what do you need to know and do? Let’s look at some tips to help you make good progress in your healing. 

Follow your surgeon’s recommendations

After your operation, your surgeon will share advice on how to handle the recovery period. They may prescribe medication, ask you to attend follow-up appointments, and recommend restrictions or activity modifications. They’ll give you a timeline for your recovery, and advise what you can do at which stage. 

The more strictly you follow your doctor’s recommendations, the smoother your recovery should be, and the quicker you’ll be able to get back to normal life again. 

Elevate and ice your foot

It’s normal to experience swelling and discomfort after a foot operation. Keeping your foot elevated above heart level and applying ice packs to it can help to reduce any swelling and pain. Try to keep your foot elevated in this way for several hours a day, especially in the first few days after your surgery.

Take good care of your surgical wound

It’s important to keep your surgical site clean and dry to help prevent infections. So follow your doctor’s recommendations on wound care. These might include changing your dressing, keeping the area dry, and looking out for signs of infection, such as increased redness, warmth, or drainage.

Keep active – as recommended only!

Rest is vital for healing, but it’s also important to start introducing gentle movement and exercises, as recommended by your doctor. This gentle activity will help to prevent stiffness, promote circulation, and support your muscle strength and flexibility. Make sure you avoid putting weight on your operated foot until your doctor says it is okay though. 

Use mobility aids 

While you are healing, make good use of mobility aids like crutches, walkers, or a knee scooter. These will offer support and stability, and prevent falls, while making it possible for you to move around without putting weight on your foot. Your healthcare provider should recommend the best mobility aids for your needs.

Eat well

A well-balanced diet that is rich in nutrients is vital for helping healing and overall wellbeing. So make sure you eat lots of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains while you are recovering. Also drink plenty of water, as it helps to flush out toxins and supports cellular function.

Talk about how you are feeling

Recovery from any kind of surgery can be emotionally tough. But foot surgery is especially difficult because it can restrict your independence and disrupt your daily routine. It’s frustrating not being able to move around and do things for yourself, and you may even be housebound for the first stage of your recovery. 

So make sure you have people around you to talk to, rely on and offer emotional support and encouragement. Sharing your worries and feelings with others can make the recovery process feel more manageable.

Be patient and upbeat 

It will take you time to recover from your foot surgery, so be patient with yourself. Make sure you have realistic expectations and celebrate small victories along your healing journey. Keeping a positive mindset can have a big impact on your progress, so focus on the small wins and visualize yourself getting stronger and more mobile every day.