What to Expect With Foot Surgery

At this point, you have decided to move forward with foot surgery as you want to remove for example the bunion on your foot. It’s exciting and a little scary all at the same time, especially if you’ve never had surgery before. What should you expect specifically with bunion surgery? Here are three things that you should know before you have surgery.

  1. The morning of your surgery. The first thing you must know about having any kind of surgery, including foot surgery, is that you can’t eat or drink anything after midnight the morning of your surgery. That means no breakfast before you leave for the hospital, including your regular morning coffee! This is so important that if you do decide to have that small piece of fruit or cup of morning joe, your surgery will more than likely be canceled. Eating or drinking right before having surgery puts you in immediate danger of what’s called aspersion. In other words, if you go into surgery with a belly full of food, you are at risk of coughing up a small piece of food (or fluid) that could accidentally get into your lungs. Bottom line: don’t eat or drink before your surgery!
  2. Wear loose and comfortable clothes. In this piece of advice, what clothes you are allowed to wear may vary by surgeon and what type of surgery you are having. For our discussion let’s again focus on bunion surgery. The best type of clothes to wear would be loose long pants or shorts. Shorts are great because the clothes will be out of the way for your foot surgeon. If it’s cold outside (and many foot surgeries are performed in the winter months!) wear loose-fitting jogging or sweatpants. This is not the time to wear your favorite skinny jeans or your skin-tight athletic clothes. Even though your surgeon will be working on your big toe, the skin from your toe to above your ankle will be prepped (disinfected) with a chemical to decrease the chance of infection. For this reason, no article on clothing can be in this area. Additionally, operating rooms are typically kept very cold and so a loose-fitting pair of sweatpants would work perfectly!
  3. Plan ahead and be prepared! For most people having bunion surgery, the day of surgery will be a very smooth process. What can make it even better is when you have everything ready for your return home. After surgery, your foot will be bandaged and you will either have a protective boot on or in some cases a cast. This will cause you to be moving slower than normal and you might require assistance from a friend or loved one. Planning ahead can help to get you home faster and into a comfortable and efficiently planned environment with your newly acquired handicaps. Take into consideration your mode of transportation, getting in and out of a vehicle, and the distance from your vehicle until you are sitting or laying down inside. Also, take into consideration any steps or stairs that you may encounter as you make your way to your couch or bed. Creating a Foot Surgery Recovery Game Plan before your procedure will help to make your recovery from bunion surgery a walk in the park!

The three things listed above will help give you a better idea about your upcoming surgery. If you are looking for additional information on what it’s like to have bunion surgery, set up an appointment with one of our specialists who can further explain the process!

Dr. Christopher Menke, DPM, FACFAS

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