Surgical Services

ORTHOPEDIC ANKLE POST SURGERY INSTRUCTIONS

SPLINT:

Keep your splint clean, dry, and intact at all times. You can place a plastic bag over the splint for showering. Do not place any items inside your splint to scratch an itch as this could cause a skin infection.

If the splint feels too tight, you should loosen the ace wraps and go to the nearest emergency department.

You may see some watery or blood-stained fluid on the dressing. If the dressing becomes soaked, there may be a problem. Go to the nearest emergency department.

 

SWELLING:

There will be some swelling of the surgical site, and this should settle down after 3 to 4 days from surgery. You should keep the ankle elevated above the level of the heart at all times for the first 3-4 days after surgery. Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel (to prevent the splint from getting wet and soft) to reduce pain and swelling. Apply the ice pack for 20 minutes, and then remove the ice pack for 20 minutes; repeat 3 to 4 times daily or more if needed.

 

ACTIVITIES:

You can NOT put any of your weight on the ankle until your surgeon says it is alright to do so (usually 6-10 weeks after surgery). Use your crutches or walker while walking.

Absolutely NO vigorous exercise such as jogging, bicycling, walking long distances, climbing heights, riding a horse, skateboarding, etc. You may not drive until your surgeon says you may. Your surgeon will let you know when you are personally ready to resume certain activities, including work activities.

Wiggle your toes 10-15 times every hour while you are awake.


PAIN MEDICATION:

You may have muscle soreness that feels like you underwent heavy exercise or have the flu for 1-2 days after surgery. Tylenol (acetaminophen) OR the pain medication that your surgeon prescribed should help this. Do not take acetaminophen and your narcotic prescription pain medication at the same time.

You should take the pain medication that your surgeon prescribed at the onset of pain as directed. If your pain is not relieved with the pain medication, go to the emergency room or have the orthopedic surgeon on call paged (call the hospital at 928-283-2501).

Narcotic pain medication may cause constipation (hard stool or inability to have a bowel movement). You may need to take an over-the-counter stool softener to prevent or resolve this, or you can ask your surgeon to prescribe one for you. Also, drink plenty of fluids that do not contain sugar.

Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking narcotic pain medication.


NAUSEA & VOMITTING:

For nausea (feeling sick to your stomach) and vomiting (throwing up), drink plenty of fluids. THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR CHILDREN. Start with small amounts of clear liquids and progress slowly, as tolerated, to a regular diet. If unable to keep fluids down, GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM.

Narcotic pain medications can cause nausea and vomiting. Stop taking narcotic pain medication and try Tylenol (acetaminophen) or ibuprofen in addition to elevation for pain relief instead.


FOLLOW UP:

It is VERY IMPORTANT that you follow up with your surgeon as scheduled. If you cannot make your scheduled appointment, notify the Orthopedic Surgery clinic as soon as possible at: 1-928-283-2660 to make other arrangements.

 

PLEASE CALL FOR ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS-TCRHCC, 1-888-264-9905

 

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION:

If you have an increase in pain or swelling where surgery was performed that is not resolved with pain medication or elevation of the surgical body part above the heart.

If the splint feels too tight.

If you have any numbness or tingling (the sensation of your leg or foot “falling asleep”) in the extremity that was operated on.

If you start feeling bad, or have a fever, chills, or shakes.

If you have redness, pus, or excessive drainage around your surgical site.

If you have leg, calf, or foot pain, redness, or swelling in either leg.

If you have pain in your chest or difficulty breathing.

If drinking fluids makes you vomit (throw up).

 

IF YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS AT ALL, GO TO THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT IMMEDIATELY