Conservative treatment of many foot and ankle problems often produces temporary relief of pain. If pain persists, surgery is sometimes the more definitive answer to a persistent problem and the best way to prevent more serious conditions. On the other hand, surgery is not always the best approach for all patients. Your podiatric surgeon can tell if you are an appropriate surgical candidate.
Always ask your surgeon for complete pre-operative preparation instructions. Typically, these may include:
Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
You will be met in reception and will have to fill out administrative forms.
You will then meet with the nursing and anaesthetic team.
Your foot will be initialized.
Immediately after surgery, the entire foot will be carefully wrapped in a bulky dressing or cast as protection for the first few days. Keeping the foot elevated during this time will help minimize swelling. Some swelling and stiffness can be expected following surgery, for as long as eight to twelve weeks. Crutches may be needed for walking or standing as the foot heals. . Each surgical procedure requires a different type of foot immobilization such as a bandage, splint, surgical shoe, cast, or open sandal. Good postoperative results require proper foot support to prevent future problems. Early use of leg and foot muscles hastens recovery. After sufficient healing time, most patients can resume wearing their usual footwear.
It is not unusual to experience numbness, tingling, and burning sensations in your foot or ankle. You should elevate your foot above your heart for 48 hours after the procedure, in order to relieve pain and these sensations. If this does not resolve the problem, your cast or surgical dressing may be too tight, and you may need to call your surgeon. Avoid prolonged sitting or standing, and refrain from putting weight on the operative site unless given permission by your surgeon.
Your surgeon will give you pain medication, which may cause nausea or constipation. Eat lightly on the day of surgery.
Keep your bandages clean and dry.
Follow-up X-rays may be required to ensure the foot is healing properly. These are usually done
3-6 weeks after surgery.
Additionally, patients are typically required to wear a post-operative shoe.
Ask your surgeon for complete post-operative instructions.
Full recovery typically requires between 6 and 12 weeks. Swelling is the “enemy” after surgery and precautions must be taken to minimize it. A slow, gradual return to activities is encouraged.
Foot and ankle surgery rehabilitation can be done at home but usually requires some formal physiotherapy. The physiotherapist will advise you on correct exercises, walking patterns and stretches to ensure optimal post operative recovery.
Some patients require orthotics (foot supports), and special footwear. This care helps ensure that the results of the operation are long lasting.
After the first 48 hours of foot elevation, you can usually gradually return to most activities wearing your post operative shoes. The dressing placed at the time of surgery is left intact until your first postoperative visit. The surgical dressing cannot get wet. Therefore, baths are encouraged. If one chooses to shower, then an “over-the-foot” bag is necessary.
You should visit your surgeon one week post operatively for the first dressing change. After this appointments will be made depending on your particular surgery..
Patients can go to the following resources for more information on this procedure:
Australasian College of Podiatric Surgeons website: www.acps.edu.au
As modern medical care grows more complex, patients can feel overwhelmed. The opportunity to consult a recognized authority about a particular diagnosis and treatment can bring peace of mind at an emotionally difficult time. A second opinion may be beneficial when:
It is very difficult to give a cost of a surgical procedure prior to the surgeon reviewing your foot as all feet and different and each procedure is tailored specifically to your foot. The surgeon will give a written quote for your procedure after your consultation. As a guide, however, an uncomplicated basis bunion procedure costs approximately $2200. This cost is billed directly by the surgeon.
You will also have an anaesthetic cost and this is billed by the anaesthetist on a per half hour basis. This cost is not claimable through your private health fund or Medicare.
The day surgery facility bills your health fund directly and there may be a gap that you will need to pay on the day of surgery. If you are not in a private health fund then the cost of the day surgery facility will have to be fully paid on the day of surgery. Please call the particular surgery directly to confirm these costs.
Rebates: There is no Medicare rebate for podiatric surgery at present. Private health insurance rebates vary substantially between funds. Most private health funds provide a very minimal rebate for surgery but you should check with your health fund prior to surgery. You will have a written quote with MBS codes and podiatry item numbers that will help the fund determine what your rebate may be.