Some pain after surgery is normal and unavoidable, that said, these days we have a number of ways of ensuring that post-operative pain is manageable. You may have had a nerve block placed by the anaesthetist or some local anaesthetic put in around the site of your surgery. This is very effective in the first 6-12 hours following surgery but as it wears off it is important start to take some analgesia so that you don’t get a shock when the block wears off completely.
Depending on your procedure, you will be given a prescription for analgesia to take once you are home. Simple analgesia like paracetamol and anti-inflammatories are often enough to manage pain after minor procedures, but even after more extensive surgery, these will help to manage your pain and significantly reduce the amount of stronger pain-killers required.
Stronger analgesia usually involves the use of opioid medications such as Oxycodone (Endone) or some of the newer agents like Tramadol (Tramal) or Tapentadol (Palexia). These medications are very effective at controlling pain but can have side effects such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, confusion and sleepiness. Every patient is different but it is important to try to minimise the use of these medications to limit side effects but also to reduce problems with tolerance (opioids lose their effectiveness the more that you use them).
If your pain is not adequately managed post-operatively or if you are experiencing significant side effects please contact the hospital and they can get in touch with Mr Sethi.
Swelling Management after Foot/Ankle Procedures
Keeping swelling to a minimum post-operatively is important to achieve wound healing. Rest and elevation of the affected leg are the most important things you can do to minimise swelling.
Resting your part. It is important to rest especially after a foot/ankle surgery. Some practical tips include:
- Take a one- two weeks off work.
- Make sure you have family or friends around who are willing to help with tasks around the house.
- Consider organising a short-term meal delivery service or house cleaning assistance.
Elevation is another simple measure that will have a dramatic effect on post-operative swelling. Following procedures, the easiest and most effective method of elevation is to rest leg on a few pillows or cushions when lying down. Using a stool while you are sitting on couch can also be helpful.
Casts, Backslabs, Surgical shoes and Braces
After certain Foot/Ankle and Knee procedures, your leg will be placed in a temporary plaster splint (backslab). This is to give your limb a chance rest in a position that is comfortable and functional. If your leg requires longer-term support, this plaster backslab will usually be replaced with a brace after followup consultation.
While you have a plaster backslab on, it is important to keep your slab and bandages dry. If your plaster does inadvertently get wet, please contact us so that we can organise a review or earlier conversion to a Brace.
At the time your splint is fitted, your therapist will explain how to use your splint properly – when to take it off, how to put it back on, and what exercises you can be doing post-operatively. We find that the better patients understand the condition and rehabilitation, the better the results that can be achieved. It is important therefore to ask your therapist or Mr Sethi if at any point you are unsure of what you should and should not be doing as part of your rehabilitation.
When you are discharged from hospital you will have dressings applied to any surgical wounds. Mr Sethi chooses very specific post-operative dressings to optimise wound healing as well as maintain mobility and visibility of the surgical site. These dressings are designed to be left intact and undisturbed until your post-operative review.
Should you, your therapist or your GP have any concerns about your dressing or wound prior to your first post-operative review please let the rooms know immediately. In particular, please do not start any antibiotics without first contacting Mr Sethi – these can make the diagnosis of post-operative infection particularly difficult.
We are dedicated to supporting you through every part of your recovery and will always be happy to discuss any concerns over the phone or schedule an urgent review if required.
Your follow up appointments will usually be booked even before you surgery is performed and these will be confirmed with you when you are discharged. Sometimes, for patients from regional areas, we will plan simple post-operative follow up with your local GP to avoid unnecessary travel. If you are unsure of your follow up arrangements or if you can’t attend on of your appointments for whatever reason, please contact us and we will be able to help.