What is involved in foot surgery?

Clearly this depends upon exactly what your diagnosis is – many foot problems do not need surgery at all. Your Surrey Foot and Ankle Clinic Consultant will go through precisely what is proposed to treat your condition. If you do need an operation most foot surgery is done as a day-case operation under a general anaesthetic.

What can I expect on the day of surgery?

In the NHS your consultant will supervise, but may not perform, your operation. As a Private Patient you will be seen and treated by your consultant. If surgery is required the consultant will perform the operation personally.

On the day of your operation you will be met at reception by hospital staff and taken to your own room. The nurse looking after you will help prepare you. You will see the anaesthetist and the surgeon as well.

After your operation you will feel drowsy but local anaesthetic nerve blocks ensure very little or no pain. Your consultant will see that you are well in the recovery ward. You are observed there until awake enough to return to your room. Even for a short operation the time away from your room will be at least 2 hours.

Physiotherapists will ensure you are safe (with crutches for example) before you go home. You should take the painkillers as directed, regularly, even if there is no pain, to prevent discomfort from building up later.

Rest, with the leg elevated, is particularly important in the first 48 hours after discharge.

What do I do if there are problems?

If you have questions or concerns please telephone the Surrey Foot and Ankle Clinic Office (01483 527446) by day, or the hospital/ward where you were treated in outside office hours.

How long will I need to be off work?

This depends upon your occupation. With desk based jobs it may be possible to perform some work from home soon after your operation. Ideally you should take two weeks off from work to keep the swelling to a minimum and maximise. After this you will need to make time to see the physiotherapists. Most frequently it is the journey to work that prevents return (see Driving, below)

Will I need physiotherapy after surgery?

Physiotherapy improves the outcome of almost all operations on the foot and ankle. The start time, frequency and duration of your rehabilitation program will be arranged according to your specific needs.

How Long will Recovery and Rehab take?

The majority of Foot and Ankle operations are performed on a Day Case basis. That means you come in for the operation and go home again on the same day. Sometimes you stay overnight (particularly if the operation is late in the afternoon).

You will be seen by a physiotherapist who will teach you how to walk using crutches and how to use the surgical boot or shoe that protects the operated limb after the operation.

Post-operative Rehab Guide

You may need crutches or other walking aids. This depends upon the type of surgery and your general fitness and/or other joint problems. Follow-up appointments in outpatients will be arranged for removal or stitches, x-rays and assessment of progress to

ensure that your recovery is proceeding according to plan. It is important to us that you feel as little pain as possible after surgery and make a full and timely recovery.

Will I be able to drive after surgery?

If you drive a car with automatic transmission and have had the left leg treated, then you may be permitted to drive as soon as your stitches have been removed. If your right foot or ankle were treated, or you have a manual car, then please discuss with your surgeon when you are likely to be able to drive again. The DVLA regulations regarding fitness to drive are somewhat ambiguous. You must be confident you can control the vehicle safely. It is best to inform your insurance company before getting back behind the wheel.

When will I be able to get back to playing sports?

This is very variable, but generally between 3-9 months depending on which sports and what operation.