Ankle Fusion

Care After

Refer to this sheet in the next few weeks. These discharge instructions provide you with general information on caring for yourself after you leave the hospital. Your caregiver may also give you specific instructions. Your treatment has been planned according to the most current medical practices available, but unavoidable complications sometimes occur. If you have any problems or questions after discharge, please call your caregiver.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

Everyone recovers at a different pace. Proper self-care will help you to recover fully. Follow your caregiver's specific instructions as well as the steps below.

Pain and Swelling

  • Raise (elevate) your ankle above the level of the heart to reduce swelling as much as possible for about 1 week. Place your leg on top of pillows when lying down. Swelling is normal for up to 16 weeks.

  • Take pain medicines as directed. Certain pain medicines may cause constipation. Drink enough water and fluids to keep your urine clear or pale yellow. Include fiber in your diet.

Bathing

  • Cover your cast or splint with plastic wrap while bathing to keep it dry.

Moving Around

  • Do not put any weight on your ankle until instructed by your surgeon.

  • While lying down, try regularly moving other body parts to increase circulation.

  • You will require crutches or a walker for several weeks. Follow your caregiver's instructions for walking with crutches or a walker. Rest often, but move around with crutches or a walker as tolerated. Keep floors clear in your home to prevent a fall. Keep essential items within reach. Ask friends or family members for help during recovery.

  • Give your ankle time to heal.

  • Your caregiver will let you know when you can begin putting weight on the ankle. This usually begins when the cast is removed and a temporary boot is worn.

  • Check with your caregiver about driving and returning to work.

Rehabilitation

  • It will take time to adjust to the newly fused ankle and to walk normally. Continue with physical therapy exercises as directed. You may be asked to see a physical therapist regularly and to perform exercises at home. These will help you improve the strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the ankle and foot.

  • Follow up with your caregiver as directed for X-rays and further exams. Your cast will be removed and you will be fitted for a boot during the recovery period.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

  • Always discuss your medicines with your caregiver before taking them.

  • If you smoke, quit. Smoking slows the healing process and increases the risk of infection. You may get help from your primary caregiver with approaches to help you stop smoking.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You feel sick or you develop chills.

  • You have severe or increased swelling or pain.

  • You feel sick to your stomach (nauseous), dizzy, or throw up (vomit).

  • You have persistent fluid (drainage) coming from the wound.

  • You have other new symptoms.

  • You have questions or concerns.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have pain of the calf or leg.

  • You have difficulty breathing.

  • You have an irregular heartbeat or chest pain.

  • You have a fever.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.