What Happens?

The rehabilitation you require depends on how much surgery was done. You may have had just the ankle arthroscopy if a cause was found inside the ankle, or you may have had the ligaments tightened. If you have had just the arthroscopy, you will not be in plaster. You may walk on the ankle straight away, unless you are specifically told not to weight bear for six weeks if a cartilage  operation was performed to encourage the joint to repair. If you had the ligaments tightened, then you will be in plaster and not able to weight bear for six weeks.

PAIN

You will have had injections to numb your foot so that you are not in pain after the operation. This injection will wear off after 18-24 hours, so you must take regular painkillers so that you are not in severe pain when the injection wears off. Ibuprofen and Diclofenac should not be used for more than a few days after the operation as they can interfere with bone healing.

The pain will settle over a few weeks. You may see blood stains on the dressings. This is normal and not a cause for alarm. If blood is dripping from the dressings however, return to hospital.

SWELLING

The foot will be swollen as well as sore. You should keep the foot elevated as much as possible for the first two weeks. Keep walking down to a minimum - going to the toilet or for meals. Letting the leg hang down will cause the foot to become more swollen. Most of the swelling will settle within the first few months, but swelling can continue for up to one year.

If you are resting on your sofa, keep your foot elevated on the back rest or arm rest. If you are resting in bed, then place a few pillows under the foot to keep it elevated.

WALKING

You will normally be in plaster for a total of six weeks after surgery for ligament rupture. During this time, you should not weight bear on this foot. You will need crutches or a walking frame to get about.

Two weeks after the operation, you will have your plaster removed, and the stitches removed. You will then have a further plaster applied for four more weeks. After this, you will have an xray and if this is satisfactory, you will be given a removable plastic boot, in which you can put your weight through the operated foot. You will use this for a further six weeks. This can be removed for washing, performing exercises and at night.

BLOOD CLOTS

If you are in plaster for a prolonged period, you will be at risk of developing a blood clot in your leg. You will be given injections to thin the blood to cut this risk down. These can be self-administered, even in the elderly. You can stop taking these as soon as you progress to a plastic boot.

EXERCISES

While you are in plaster, you can perform exercises to keep the leg muscles above the knee strong, as these will become weaker as you are not weight bearing.

You can remove the plastic boot to wash, and perform exercises depending on your operation. You will also start physiotherapy at this point.

After twelve weeks, you will be seen in the clinic. From this time, you will start to wean yourself off the plastic boot and will wear a smaller brace for three further months.

RETURNING TO WORK

You will be unable to weight bear while in plaster. I advise that you do not return to work before the plaster is removed, especially if you are on your feet all day at work. Most people will be off work for four months as a minimum, but if you have a workplace with disabled access that allows you to use crutches and you are sitting down most of the day, you may be able to return to work while wearing the plastic boot. Remember that not everyone is the same, and some people take a longer time to recover from their surgery. Please request a sick note before you leave hospital, if you need one.

postoperative shoe if keyhole surgery only

six weeks in plaster if ligaments tightened

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operation involvesAnkle_Instability_Surgery.html
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