A Foot to Stand On

What To Do Before And After Total Ankle Replacement

by Grace Ortiz

If you've had long-term ankle problems or arthritis, then you may eventually need total ankle replacement. Like hip surgery, ankle surgery replaces the joint to restore its function. If you've reached this point, then surgery is the only thing that is going to restore your movement. However, to get the most out of your surgery, and heal faster with less pain, you must take a few steps. Here are some tips for getting ready for your surgery and what to do afterward.

Things to Do Before Total Ankle Replacement Surgery

Your doctor will give you detailed instructions when you are scheduled for ankle replacement surgery. However, way before that, when surgery is first discussed, you should prepare. Here are some things you can do before surgery to make recovery easier.

Stop Smoking

Smoking slows down the healing process and increases the chance of complications. The sooner you get started on smoking cessation, the easier it will be after surgery.

Control Diabetes

Diabetes can have almost the same effect on the surgery as smoking. Keep your blood sugar stable and eat a healthy diet.

Stock Up on Essentials

Because you may be incapacitated and have limited mobility, stock up on essentials like toilet paper, toothpaste, etc.

Clean Thoroughly

Do your cleaning before your surgery. You will return to a clean home and won't need to clean while you are resting.

Buy Adapted Equipment

Check out any equipment you may need that will make your life easier after surgery. Have it installed before you need it.

Things to Do After Total Ankle Replacement Surgery

After surgery, your doctor will likely give you a timeline of how long it should take to heal and what you should do to help yourself heal. Here are some things you may be asked to do.

Rest Your Ankle

Before you leave the hospital, you will likely need to learn to use crutches or a walker. Your doctor will prescribe physical therapy to help you get back to normal walking again.

Have Someone Else Clean and Cook

Don't try cleaning or do much cooking for a few weeks. Instead, eat ready-to-eat foods. You can also pre-make some of your meals before surgery.

Keep Your Dressing Dry

If you get your dressing wet, then you could invite infection. Your doctor may recommend sponge baths at first. When you shower, be sure to protect or cover your dressing with something waterproof.

Follow Up With the Doctor

The doctor will check for proper healing and complications and make sure your surgery wound isn't infected.

If you stay healthy and follow your doctor's instructions, then you will likely have the best results from your total ankle replacement surgery. If you fail to follow instructions, then you may undo everything that you and the doctor have set out to do. For more information about ankle surgery, its effectiveness, and how to prepare, then see a podiatrist for more information.