Dr. Blitz’ Lapidus Bunionectomy Post-op Instructions
By Neal M. Blitz, DPM, FACFAS
- Pain Medicine. An oral pain medicine will be prescribed to take after your surgery. You will be given the prescription at the pre-operative appointment and it is recommended to pick this up prior to your surgery and kept in a safe place at home. Take the pain medicine as only prescribed. The most discomfort after Lapidus Bunionectomy peaks within the first 72 hours, with each day being more comfortable than the last.
- Applying Ice After Surgery. Icing of the operate site is another method used to decrease swelling and pain. Cold packs or ice should be applied to the surgical site following surgery. Cold packs are preferred because they do not leak. You should apply the cold pack (or ice) intermittently for 15-20 minutes at a time several times per day, during waking hours. Do not apply cold packs directly on the skin.
- Limb Elevation to Limit Swelling after Surgery. It is important to elevate the operated limb after surgery to limit swelling of the foot. Excessive swelling may cause complications and interfere with healing, and prolong recovery. After the Surgery, the limb should be elevated while in bed with 1-2 pillows, at the level of your heart. For the first two-weeks following surgery, you should avoid putting your limb down for longer than periods of 15-30 minutes.
- Showering & Bathing. Splints, casts and surgical dressings must be kept dry after the surgery. Water-resistant protective covers may be used when showering and bathing, and these may be purchased separately (www.xerosox.com). Alternatively, you may use a heavy-duty garbage bag to wrap the leg, and secure the seal with duct tape. Once any splints and casts are off, the extremity may be washed and submerged in water.
- Big Toe Joint Exercises. It is important to move the big toe joint after surgery to prevent the joint from becoming stiff. You should start performing exercises of the big toe joint on the first postoperative day, and this involves simply wiggling the big toe and discomfort is normal. The big toe joint should be moved manually three times per day after surgery.
- Foot Swelling Reduction. Swelling is common after foot surgery, and begins to subside once the splint/cast is removed and the foot can be mobilized. Performing gentle range of motion exercises of the ankle is beneficial in swelling reduction and promoting blood flow. These exercises involve moving the foot up/down, forward and reverse circles, and tracing the alphabet with the foot.
- Nutrition & Healing. Proper nutrition is critical optimal healing from of the skin to the bones. Proper amounts of Vitamin C, Zinc, Pathotenic Acid, and Calicium are recommended to assist the healing process of the body.