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Guide to Recovering From Your Foot Fusion Surgery

Are you considering a foot fusion surgery? Here is a comprehensive recovery guide to help you understand what to expect after this foot surgery.

Are you experiencing pain and reduced mobility in your foot? A foot fusion can help restore the function to your joint. The procedure has many benefits, including the fact that it:

  • Provides instant relief.
  • Offers permanent results.
  • Has a relatively short recovery period for a foot surgery (2-3 months).
  • Restores your quality of life and allows you to perform everyday activities much easier.

Safe and Effective Foot Fusion at our Kelowna Private Hospital

The team of general and plastic surgeons at our Kelowna private hospital are experienced and knowledgeable in a range of foot and ankle surgeries, including foot fusion, achilles tendon repair and foot and ankle arthroscopy.

Whatever your needs, we can help restore the function and movement to your body for a more fulfilling, healthy and active life.


Recovery From a Foot Fusion Surgery

A foot fusion procedure is usually associated with relatively short and simple recovery, but as with all foot and ankle surgeries, it’s important to follow your surgeon’s post-procedure instructions to ensure you heal as quickly and safely as possible.

Timeline: The recovery period for a foot fusion surgery can range from 2-3 months.

Immediately after foot surgery:

  • Your foot will be in a plaster cast to the knee. It will be numb and pain-free.
  • You’ll be sent home from the hospital only when you are comfortable, with a follow-up appointment and painkillers (if required).
  • A physiotherapist can advise you on how to walk without bearing your weight on the joint.

During the first few weeks:

  • Elevate your foot (above the level of your heart) as much as possible to reduce the swelling.
  • Move around only when needed e.g. to use the toilet or washroom. DON’T put weight on the operated foot.
  • Some blood ooze can be expected in the bandage. If you are worried, don’t hesitate to contact our Kelowna private hospital.
  • Take painkillers as prescribed by your surgeon
  • AVOID smoking and taking anti-inflammatory medications as this may delay, or even prevent, the bones from fusing together.

Follow up-appointments:

Because each patient is different, healing and post-operative programmes will vary. However, the typical schedule of follow-up appointments are as follows:

  • Two weeks: Your wound will be checked. You will have an x-ray and possibly a new cast.
  • Six weeks: You will get another x-ray and be given a new cast/boot.
  • Twelve weeks: You will have another x-ray and will be able to wear your own shoes.
  • Six months: Final appointment. You will have one more X-ray and be discharged.


When Can I Start to Walk?

Patients respond differently to surgery, with some patients being able to cop better than others with walking. However, here is a guide to what may happen:

  • 0-2 weeks: You will have a plaster cast and be given crutches to keep the weight off your foot
  • 2-6 weeks: You will be given a lightweight cast and continue to use crutches
  • 6-12 weeks: You can start to bear your weight wearing a boot or cast, with crutches if advised.
  • 12 weeks+: You should be able to fully bear your weight wearing your own shoes


Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation

You will be referred to a physiotherapist who can design a personalized rehabilitation programme that includes gait re-education (walking correctly) and exercises to reduce swelling and muscle tightness.


How Do I Wash and Shower?

It’s important to keep your plaster cast TOTALLY dry. If you have a waterproof cover, it can make showering more comfortable. Once the plaster is removed, it’s fine to shower without the cover IF the wound has healed but remember to gently dab it dry.


How Can I Look After the Wound?

Once out of the cast, let your scabs fall away naturally. DO NOT pull at them. If your wound becomes red, swollen or sore, you should book an appointment with your surgeon to check for an infection.

Your physiotherapist may also be able to give advice on wound massage when it has healed.


When Can I Return to Work?

This depends highly on the type of work you do and how quickly you recover. As a general guide, if your job requires a lot of sitting down, you should be able to return within 3 weeks of your foot surgery.

However, if your job involves a lot of manual work, then it is advised to take at least 12-16 weeks off to recover fully.


What Long Term Outcomes Can I Expect After Surgery?

A foot fusion is a very successful procedure, with excellent outcomes. You can expect:

  • Excellent pain relief, which improves as the joints fuse at around 12 weeks
  • Good level of activity and sports by six months, continuing to improve for up to 12 months
  • You may experience swelling in your foot for up to 1 year


Book a Consultation Today

To find out more about the costs and benefits of our foot and ankle surgeries, including foot fusion, achilles tendon repair and calcaneal osteotomy, contact our Kelowna private hospital at 250-868-9099 or fill out our online contact form.

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