The ankle fusion surgery recovery process starts immediately once the procedure is over, and this is important because only after proper recovery will you be able to revert to your normal lifestyle.
Ankle Surgery Recovery Tips
During the ankle fusion recovery phase, effective measures need to be started right in the hospital, before you’re given the go-ahead to shift back home.
Ankle Surgery Recovery #1 – In the Hospital
Once the surgical procedure on the ankle joint is done, you will be shifted to the recovery room. There is a chance that you might feel a bit groggy once you wake up, and this is because of the anesthesia given during the surgery which will then start wearing off. You might experience some pain in the wound and you can ask the doctor for a painkiller if the pain is intolerable.
Patient controlled analgesia will be available in many hospitals. You’ll need to press a button and the analgesic will be injected into your bloodstream through the veins. This whole process is controlled by a computer which helps in preventing an accidental overdose.
As the general anesthetic which is given is bound to make the patient forgetful and slow up to a day or more, it is important that you don’t move around during this time or make any vital decisions. You can have water or juice after a couple of hours if you don’t feel nauseous. You can start having normal food after confirming the same with your doctor.
The nurse will remove the wound drain in a day or two, and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to feel this. The stitches normally come out after a fortnight, so you’ll have to ensure that no stress is applied on the injured leg for about 8 to 10 weeks, or at least till your doctor tells you that you can.
A physiotherapist will be assigned and you’ll be taught to use crutches. You should ensure that you don’t get either your cast or your fixator wet. Make an appointment to visit the outpatient department of orthopedics six weeks after the surgery during the ankle surgery rehabilitation period, so that you can bring up broken ankle recovery pain, if any.
Ankle Surgery Recovery #2 – Back At Home
Once you’re out of the hospital, you should always use your crutches so as to avoid putting any pressure on the injured leg for at least five weeks. The first change in the plaster will be in about six weeks’ time and it will finally be removed in about 12 to 14 weeks once the wound is completely healed. The external fixator requires a small operation to be removed and this is generally done in about the same time. The leg will heal and regain its old strength in about a year.
You’ll need to make sure that you have someone who can assist you and run small chores like shopping, buying groceries and getting the laundry done. Getting back to work depends entirely on the kind of job that you do and driving and using public transport will be too risky during the initial months.
You can return to work after a period of 6 to 8 weeks following the operation. Avoid driving and doing manual for a period of four to six months in order to ensure that you clear the ankle surgery recovery phase successfully. Regular checkups can keep you updated about the status of your leg, so always stay in touch with your medical practitioner.