Frequently Asked Questions
Post surgery questions and answers
“I understand my patients are given a lot of information when preparing for foot and ankle surgery. So, I have made a list of questions most commonly asked by my patients about their recovery following surgery.
If you are unable to find the answers to your questions below, feel free to contact my rooms via email or phone and I will happily respond to your queries.”
Troy Keith – MBBS (Hons), FRACS (Orth), FAOrthA.
Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle and Trauma Surgeon
Preparation for surgery
What will I need to do before my surgery?
- You will receive an email outlining – costs, item numbers, date, time, location, and the type (if any) of boot or shoe you will need to purchase PRIOR to surgery. Please bring the boot or shoe to hospital with you on the day of your surgery.
- Contact your health fund to ensure you are covered for the surgery you have been booked using the item numbers provided.
- Complete Mr Keith’s Informed Financial Consent (IFC) and return to Mr Keith’s rooms along with your surgery deposit.
- Complete hospital paperwork and lodge with the relevant hospital.
- Contact your anaesthetist and assistant surgeon for relevant quotes.
- Arrive at the hospital, fasted and at the time instructed by Mr Keith’s office.
Seeing Mr Keith
When will I see Mr Keith after my surgery?
Mr Keith always aims to see you after your surgery, either later that evening or the following day. If you do go home before Mr Keith sees you, he will call to check on how you are recovering at home.
A post op appointment will be made for you approximately 2 weeks after your surgery. An appointment with Mr Keith’s orthotist may also be made if required.
How long am I in hospital for?
Most of Mr Keith’s patients are booked as an overnight stay.
When to go home
How do I know when I am safe to go home after my surgery?
The hospital physiotherapist will see you in hospital after your operation to decide when to go home. The hospital physiotherapist will also help you organise crutches if needed on the day.
Is swelling normal after surgery?
Yes, this is normal and expected after your surgery.
How long will my foot stay swollen ?
Swelling may be present for up to 6 months after your surgery.
How long do I need to keep my foot elevated?
It is very important to do this for 23 hours a day for the first 2 weeks. Swelling increases your risk of developing an infection.
How high do I need to elevate my leg?
Keep your leg elevated on a chair or foot stool at least at the same height as your bottom.
Walking after surgery
Non weight bearing (NWB)
If you are non weight bearing this means you CANNOT walk on your operated leg or foot. You will need crutches.
If you are allowed to weight bear this means you are CAN walk on your leg or foot.
If you have any further questions please contact Mr Keith’s office:
What do I do with my dressings after my surgery?
Please keep your dressing intact and dry until your “post operation” review (usually at 2 weeks after surgery). If you are in an orthotic boot or shoe wear this 24 hours a day.
What do I do if I need a Medical Certificate or Carer’s Certificate?
A medical certificate will be emailed to you prior to surgery along with your quote, date, time, location and financial consent.
If you need a carer’s certificate or extension to your medical certificate please email or call Mr Keith’s rooms.
How do I shower after my surgery?
A shower chair can be very helpful. It is a great idea to use a plastic bag taped around your leg to keep your foot dry while in the shower.
When I put my foot down my leg/ankle/foot swells and throbs. Is this normal?
Yes – This is normal and expected when your foot is hanging down. There may also be tingling as well as colour changes. This is common and will settle with time and elevation.
Will I be given pain relief to go home with?
Yes – You will be discharged with pain medication. Please take your pain medication if you are experiencing pain.
If you are sensitive to pain medications – Stop taking “Endone” through the day and use paracetamol instead to see if your symptoms settle. If they do not please see your local doctor.
Why do I have so many pain tablets?
Two different types of pain medications will be sent home with you and these can have different brand names. You will be given a quick acting and a slow acting pain medication.
- “Endone” OR “ Tramadol” is used for the quick relief of pain. Please take if your pain gets worse through the day.
- You can take one or two tablets every 6 hours.
- Targin OR Oxycontin OR Palexia are all different brands of slow pain relief. These work slowly throughout the day and night to help to decrease the number of Endone or Tramadol tablets you will need.
- Take one tablet morning and night of Targin OR Oxycontin OR Palexia.
If you do not have any or minimal pain during the day you can take paracetamol as needed then at night. If you cannot sleep because of discomfort or pain you can take stronger pain relief either Targin OR Oxycontin OR Palexia.
If you have known allergies to any pain medications, please notify Mr Keith prior to your surgery.
I feel nauseated after taking my pain relief.
Yes this is common. Firstly, try taking less pain relief during the day OR use paracetamol INSTEAD.
- Panadol can be taken up to 4 (four) times a day OR alternatively you can take Panadol Osteo 2 (two) tablets 3 three times a day.
DO NOT take more than 6 tablets of Panadol Osteo a day and DO NOT take Panadol and Panadol Osteo together.
- Panadol OR Panadol Osteo can be safely taken with your other pain medication.
Can I take Nurofen or other anti-inflammatories (NSAID)?
Yes, Anti-inflammatories also called NSAIDS’s like Nurofen can be helpful. Take only as directed on the box. If you are taking aspirin or have a history of ulcers AVOID taking anti-inflammatories.
Can I take anti-inflammatories if I have had a fusion (arthrodesis) operation?
You should NOT take nurofen or other anti-inflammatories if you have had a fusion operation or procedure.
Do I need to take aspirin or blood thinners?
Aspirin works to “ thin the blood”. Mr Keith will discuss with you about blood clots (DVT) after surgery and may recommend aspirin to be taken daily. Or alternatively he may prescribe Clexane instead.
If you have any further questions please contact Mr Keith’s office:
Will I need crutches to go home with?
Yes, if you are to be NON-WEIGHT bearing after your surgery. A physiotherapist will see you in hospital after your operation to show you how to use crutches safely before you are discharged.
You can hire crutches from your local pharmacy OR the physiotherapist can help you with this.
What if I can’t use crutches safely?
You can use either a walking frame, or knee walker which is sometimes called a knee scooter.
Once your wounds have healed, you should be able to fly. However, keep in mind that you will have increased risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis within the first three months of surgery.
When can I drive after surgery?
You may not drive until AFTER your post operation appointment with Mr Keith.
If your right leg or foot was operated on you may be permitted to drive an automatic vehicle ‘left footed’. However you will need to have discussed this with your insurance company first and also feel confident to be in full control of your vehicle driving “left footed”.
Depending on your surgery, this time can range between 2 weeks and 3 months.
Back to Work
When can I go back to work?
You will require at least two weeks off work after your surgery to keep your leg/ankle/foot elevated for 23 hours a day.
It is also recommended to discuss return to work duties with your employer prior to surgery.