One of the most common questions people ask about podiatric surgical treatments is how long foot surgery recovery usually takes. That question, of course, is difficult to answer because there are so many different types of surgeries to consider. In each case, your doctor or doctors will balance the need to get you moving and re-strengthening the area with the risk of re-injuring it.You’d need to discuss the details of your procedure with your orthopedic podiatrist for a more specific answer, but here are some general guidelines to get you started:
- Forefoot Surgeries
Compared to all foot surgery recovery timelines, forefoot surgeries (ingrown toenail surgery, bunion foot surgery, hammertoe surgery, etc.) have the least extended healing process. Since the body’s weight can be carried mostly in the heel of the foot, many patients can walk right away. You’ll probably be required to wear a special shoe or boot that protects the area that was operated on, but will generally be completely back to your normal activities in one to two months.
- Soft Tissue Surgeries
Soft tissue surgeries include tendon repairs, ankle stabilizations and tarsal tunnel procedures, and take longer to heal. You’ll probably need to stay off your feet altogether for a while, elevating and icing to reduce swelling. You’ll also probably have your foot in a cast and need to use a wheelchair or crutches for about a month. The final stage of recovery will be physical therapy, which might last anywhere between a few weeks and several months.
- Bone Surgeries
Unsurprisingly, foot surgery recovery takes the longest when bones are involved. You should expect immobilization at first, with no standing or walking allowed. You will probably then spend about a month in a cast, at least another month in a removable boot and several months in physical therapy. The point at which you are encouraged to move the foot and get approved forms of exercise will vary, but will perhaps occur in the first or second month.
What other questions do you have about recovering from various foot surgeries? Join the discussion in the comments.