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Discharge Instructions for Foot Surgery

Arrange to have an adult drive you home after surgery. If you had general anesthesia, it may take a day or more to fully recover. So for at least the next 24 hours:

  • Don't drive or use machinery or power tools.

  • Don't drink alcohol.

  • Don't make any major decisions.


Here are some dietary suggestions following surgery: 

  • Start with liquids and light foods (like dry toast, bananas, and applesauce). As you feel up to it, slowly return to your normal diet.

  • Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water or other nonalcoholic fluids a day.

  • To prevent nausea, eat before taking narcotic pain medicines.


It's important to follow these directions: 

  • Take all medicines as instructed.

  • Take pain medicines on time. Don't wait until the pain is bad before taking your medicines.

  • Don't drink alcohol while taking pain medicines.


These instructions are to help with your recovery: 

  • Sit or lie down when possible. Put a pillow or 2 under your heel to raise your foot above the level of your heart.

  • Wrap an ice pack or bag of frozen peas in a thin cloth. Place it over your bandaged foot for no longer than 20 minutes. Do this  3 times a day.

  • You can drive again in  7 days or as instructed by your surgeon.

  • Wear your surgical shoe at all times unless told otherwise by your surgeon.

  • Use crutches or a cane as directed.

  • Follow your surgeon's instructions about putting weight on your foot.

Bandage and cast care

Here are tips to follow: 

  • Don't shower for 48 hours.

  • When you can shower again, cover the bandage, splint, or cast with a plastic bag to keep it dry.

  • Don’t remove your bandage until your surgeon tells you to. If your bandage gets wet or dirty, check with your healthcare provider. You can likely replace it with a clean, dry one.

What to expect

It's normal to have the following:

  • Bruising and slight swelling of the foot and toes

  • A small amount of blood on the dressing

Call your healthcare provider

Contact your surgeon right away if you have any of the following: 

  • Continuous bleeding through the bandage

  • Excessive swelling, increased bleeding, or redness

  • Fever over 100.4°F (38°C) or chills, or as directed by your surgeon

  • Pain unrelieved by pain medicines

  • Foot feels cold to the touch or numb

  • Increased pain in your leg or foot

  • Chest pain or shortness of breath

  • Anything unusual that concerns you

Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Thomas N Joseph MD
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2021
© 2000-2023 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.