Every day, your ankles support your weight and provide a connection between your legs and feet. Whether you’re walking, running, standing, or jumping, those connections provide support, balance, and stability. Although your ankles may be strong, if you overuse them or they suffer a trauma, they can be pushed to their limits. If you suffer an ankle injury that requires surgery, a podiatrist can provide skilled care and guidance throughout the process, answering your questions and addressing any concerns you have.
When Is Ankle Surgery Necessary?
Many ankle problems and injuries can be treated with conservative methods. These might include a cast, walking boot, crutches, and/or shockwave therapy. Surgery is usually the last option recommended after all other treatment methods have been tried without success. A podiatrist will evaluate your situation and determine if ankle surgery is necessary. They will discuss the potential benefits and risks of surgery and help you make an informed decision about your treatment plan.
Potential Reasons for Ankle Surgery
- Severe ankle injuries. In some cases, a severe ankle injury such as a fracture or dislocation may require surgery to properly realign the bones and promote healing.
- Chronic ankle pain. If non-surgical treatments, such as physical therapy or medication, have not been effective in managing chronic ankle pain, surgery may be necessary to address the underlying issue.
- Ankle arthritis. Ankle surgery may be necessary to treat advanced ankle arthritis that has not responded to other treatments.
- Ankle instability. If you have ankle instability due to a torn ligament or another injury, surgery may be necessary to repair the damage and restore stability to the ankle.
- Tendon injuries. Severe tendon injuries, such as a ruptured Achilles tendon, may require surgery to repair the damage and promote healing.
What to Expect After Ankle Surgery
After you’ve had ankle surgery, it’s understandable that you want to get back to your life and the activities you love as soon as possible. However, it’s important that you follow your doctor’s instructions to help ensure your full and proper recovery. Recovery time after an ankle injury is based on your overall health and includes your age, stress, the type of surgery, and diet.
Potential Symptoms After Ankle Surgery
- Pain and discomfort. After surgery, you will likely experience some pain and discomfort, and you may be prescribed pain medication to help manage this.
- Swelling. It is normal to experience swelling in the ankle after surgery. You may need to elevate your leg and use ice to reduce the swelling.
- Limited mobility. Depending on the extent of the surgery, you may need to use crutches or a walker to get around for a period of time. You may also need to wear a cast or a brace to keep your ankle stable while it heals.
- Rehabilitation. To regain mobility and strength in your ankle, you will need to participate in a rehabilitation program. This may include exercises and physical therapy.
- Time. The recovery process can take several weeks or even months, depending on the extent of the surgery and your healing process.
How Long After Ankle Surgery Can I Walk?
The amount of time it takes to start walking after ankle surgery varies for each patient. Generally, it may take several weeks to several months before you can walk normally again. Here are some factors that can affect your ability to walk after ankle surgery:
- Type of surgery. The type of ankle surgery you have undergone will play a significant role in determining when you can start walking. For example, minimally invasive surgery may allow you to start walking earlier than open surgery.
- Healing time. Your body's healing time will also impact when you can start walking after surgery. Your podiatrist will monitor your progress and tell you when it is safe to start walking. You may be advised first to attempt walking with an aid such as crutches while still in a cast or a walking boot.
- Physical therapy. You will likely need to participate in physical therapy to regain strength and mobility in your ankle before you can start walking normally again.
- Pain management. Pain can also affect your ability to walk. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication to manage any discomfort you experience during the recovery process.
Following your podiatrist's instructions and attending all follow-up appointments are vital to ensure a safe and successful recovery. Starting to walk too soon after ankle surgery can cause further damage and delay the healing process, so it's essential to be patient and let your body heal at its own pace.
How Long Is Ankle Surgery Recovery?
The recovery time for ankle surgery can vary depending on the type of surgery and the extent of the damage. Each patient’s recovery will be different. Recovery can take several weeks to months to fully heal from ankle surgery.
The length of recovery time can also depend on the individual's overall health and age. Younger patients and those who are generally healthy may recover more quickly than older patients or those with other health issues. Following your doctor's instructions for recovery and rehabilitation are essential to ensure the best possible outcome.
How Long Does Swelling Last After Ankle Surgery?
- Type of surgery. The type of ankle surgery you have undergone will play a significant role in determining the duration of swelling. More extensive surgeries may result in longer-lasting swelling than less invasive surgeries.
- Individual healing time. Every individual heals at their own pace, and this can affect the duration of swelling after ankle surgery. Some people may experience swelling for a shorter period than others.
- Postoperative care. Proper postoperative care can help reduce swelling and promote healing. It is essential to follow your podiatrist's instructions for rest, elevation, and icing to minimize swelling after surgery.
In general, mild to moderate swelling after ankle surgery can last for several weeks, while more severe swelling may last for several months. However, it is essential to consult your podiatrist to determine the expected duration of swelling in your specific case. If you experience any unusual symptoms, such as severe pain or increased swelling, it is crucial to contact your podiatrist immediately.
Tips for Reducing Swelling After Surgery
- Elevation. Keep your ankle elevated above heart level as much as possible, especially during the first few days after surgery. This can help reduce swelling by promoting fluid drainage from the ankle.
- Apply ice. Apply ice to your ankle for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day, especially during the first few days after surgery. This can help reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Wear compression socks. If advised by your podiatrist, you may consider wearing compression socks. They can help reduce swelling by applying pressure to the ankle and promoting fluid drainage.
- Medications. Your doctor may prescribe medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, to help reduce swelling and manage pain. Follow your doctor's instructions and only take medications as prescribed.
Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists for Your Foot and Ankle Health
If you are looking for a podiatrist for ankle surgery in Keller, Texas, or you are seeking care for any foot or ankle condition, you need the skilled, compassionate podiatrists at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists. With 30 years of experience, our podiatrists understand the relationship between your feet and your overall health. Whether your condition requires therapy, orthotics, or surgery, we offer leading-edge medical care to address your unique situation.
We offer patients safe, effective, and affordable treatment plans. If you’re struggling with a foot or an ankle problem, call us today at 817-481-4000, or fill out our contact form to make an appointment.