How To Prepare for Foot Surgery

Feb 25, 2023
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Having surgery can be an intimidating process but by being well prepared can help to reduce anxiety and make for a more positive experience. In the weeks leading up to surgery there are many things that you can do to set yourself up for success.

Pre-Operative Tips:

  • Set up your living environment
      1. Before your surgery it is recommended that you survey the space you will be staying in post opertively. Usually this is your house but sometimes you may be staying elsewhere after. Are there stairs? You might want to set up a bed on the couch for a few days. Clear away any possible trip hazards. 
      2. Ensure you have easy meals on hand. After surgery you do not want to spend long periods of time standing at the stove cooking while your foot swells from lack of elevation. Some people chose to become besties with their Doordash driver. Other people cook and freeze healthy meals that they can just heat up. No matter what your preference is, having a food plan prepared ahead of time can save you time and energy. 
      3. Download books, movies, or games to entertain yourself. After surgery there is a lot of time dedicated to resting and elevating your foot. At first it sounds like heaven but boredom can quickly set in. We recommend having a variety of things to do during this time so you aren’t tempted to hang curtains or go on a cleaning spree when you are supposed to be planted on the couch.
      4. Pick up or set up delivery for any post op medications you and your doctor discussed. Once you get home after surgery you will not want to leave so it is prudent to ensure you will have your meds ahead of time.
  • Set up a support system

Most foot surgeries will not require a lot of assistance but in case yours does, know who you can rely on for a helping hand. Having someone who can help you get inside your apartment after surgery, pick up meds, or help you get to appointments may be needed and life will be a lot less stressful if you have people in your corner.

  • Purchase needed supplies 

Prior to your surgery we will discuss any purchases we recommend specific to your case but in general these are the supplies we frequently recommend:

  1. Shower boot cover: this can be purchased from a drug store or amazon. It goes on over the surgical dressing and suctions to your leg to allow you to shower without getting the dressing wet. 
  2. Elevation bolster: Elevation after surgery is a critical component of pain control. While you can make do with pillows, often when you are sleeping you will kick those off of the bed. Patients who purchase this handy device report to us that they get better sleep and are able to remain in the preferred elevated position at night.
  3. Knee Scooter: If you have already been made aware that you will be non weight bearing after your procedure, a knee scooter is a great alternative to crutches which can be painful to the hands and underarms. A knee scooter will allow you to get around town with your foot protected when you are ready to be out and about during the post-operative period
  4. iWALK: An alternative to the scooter is an iWALK. People with limited space tend to like this device as it is more streamlined. It is a hands free crutch that straps to your upper leg and allows you to walk while your lower leg is protected from further injury.
  • Start optimizing your body for healing

Some surgeries are more urgent and there is not time to plan ahead but in the event a surgery is planned in advance, we encourage patients to take supplements that support healing.

Collagen: Lately, we have heard a lot about collagen in the beauty industry but collagen is the basis of connective tissue and is what makes our tissues strong and elastic. It promotes healing by recruiting cells involved in tissue healing and regeneration to wounded areas. Studies have found that wound healing is significantly improved with the intake of a collagen supplement. We like Vital Proteins unflavored collagen which is sold at many major retailers making it easily accessible and the unflavored makes it more palatable than some others we have tried. 

Vitamin D: This vitamin has long been known to play a role in keeping our bones healthy but recently studies have found that Vitamin D plays a major role in our bodies ability to recover from surgery by reducing our risks of postoperative infections and promoting healthy bone growth.

The Recommended Dietary Allowances for vitamin D are: 

  • infants (0–12 months): 10 mcg (400 IU)
  • children and teens: 15 mcg (600 IU)
  • adults ages 18–70: 15 mcg (600 IU)
  • adults over age 70: 20 mcg (800 IU)
  • pregnant or breastfeeding women: 15 mcg (600 IU)

Calcium: We all heard as children that we needed calcium to build strong bones but calcium is important even after childhood. Calcium can help in bone and muscle recovery too. 

Vitamin A: Helps with endothelial and epidermal repair which means it helps your skin and blood vessels to heal after surgery. This is an important vitamin as it creates a great environment for wound healing which will encourage faster wound closure. 

B12: Red blood cells and hemoglobin deliver oxygen to wounds which help them heal. B12 increases the levels of red blood cells and hemoglobin making it integral to postoperative healing. 

Electrolytes: Proper hydration is very important leading up to surgery because it helps clear impurities and reduces joint pain. Aim to consume 8-10 glasses of electrolyte water per day leading up to surgery, and prioritize hydration as tolerated after the procedure. Studies have found that electrolytes aid in reduction of postoperative nausea and improve the post-op course. Keeping your body well hydrated helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure and keeps the kidneys happy both during and after your procedure.