people rowing a boat in the middle of a lake

Ankle Surgery Recovery

November 24, 2020

man jogging on outdoor trail

The ankle may become fractured after rolling, bending, or twisting it. Because this joint is used to walk, run, and jump, injuries to this part of the body are common. If a fracture occurs, ankle surgery may be necessary. Our doctors at Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin offer foot and ankle surgery to residents of the Austin, TX, area.

Anytime you undergo a surgical procedure, it is important to know what to expect during the healing process. Here, our team walks you through ankle surgery recovery and offers recommendations to keep you comfortable and on track.

How Long Does Ankle Surgery Recovery Take?

The answer to this question varies for each patient. There are several factors that can contribute to the total length of your recovery, including:

  • Your overall health
  • Age
  • The complexity of the ankle surgery
  • Compliance with postoperative instructions

As you can imagine, the more complex the surgery, the longer the recovery time. Your surgeon can let you know what to expect during a consultation at our Austin orthopaedic office.

Identifying Postoperative Complications

Complications following ankle surgery can be minimized by adhering to the guidelines provided by your surgeon. However, patients should be aware of these warning signs, and contact our practice immediately if they develop:

  • Fever over 101.3 degrees
  • Severe foot or ankle pain that cannot be alleviated with ice, elevation, and medication
  • Chest pains, shortness of breath, or pain in the calf
  • Adverse reactions to medications
  • Tenderness in the lymph nodes

Tips for Ankle Surgery Recovery

Patients can optimize their recovery time by following a few postoperative instructions. You will be given a detailed outline the day of your surgery. Here are a few general recovery and home safety tips from our team:

  • Do not put any weight on your treated foot.
  • Take all medications as prescribed.
  • Apply cold compresses to the affected area to reduce swelling.
  • Avoid normal routines and activities for at least two weeks after your surgery.
  • Do not smoke, as it seriously hinders the body's natural healing processes.
  • Get plenty of rest so your body can heal faster.
  • Consider placing a bench in the shower so you can safely sit while bathing.
  • Install non-slip mats in your shower or tub.
  • Thoroughly dry the feet before getting out of the shower.
  • Sit in sturdy chairs with armrests so you can stand up easier.
  • Consider using a knee walker instead of crutches, pending your surgeon's recommendations.
  • Keep your bandage or cast completely dry and do not change it unless directed to do so by your surgeon.
  • Do not drive for at least four to six weeks after surgery.
  • You may ride in cars as a passenger, but follow your doctor's recommendations for getting in and out of a vehicle.

Your First Follow-up Visit

Your surgeon will assess your healing one to two weeks after your surgery. During this visit, your bandage or cast will be removed for the first time, and further instructions will be given to aid in your recovery.

Contact Our Office

If you are about to undergo ankle surgery, it is important to follow your surgeon's recommendations precisely. Doing so can help alleviate discomfort and speed up the recovery process. To learn more, contact our Austin practice online or call us at (512) 476-2830.