The number of foot and ankle surgeries has been steadily increasing over the last few years. Patients may opt for surgical procedures to ease their foot condition if they are experiencing intense pain, discomfort and limited mobility. Sometimes, a patient’s foot condition may not respond to nonsurgical treatments like orthotics, making surgery the next best step to improve their quality of life.
However, receiving foot surgery does not mean your condition is instantly cured. The recovery process from foot surgery can be intense and extensive, requiring multiple hours of rehabilitation and at-home treatments. Thankfully, some techniques can help speed up the process so that you can return to normal activities as soon as possible.
How long is the recovery time from foot surgery?
There are dozens of complicated foot conditions that may require surgical intervention. If you’ve had foot surgery, your recovery time may heavily depend on the type of surgery you received and the extent of your foot condition. It is important to note that no two cases of foot conditions are identical. As such, each patient’s foot surgery can lead to entirely different recovery times, processes and results.
With that said, you may be expected to recover from your specific foot surgery within a certain amount of time. Some common foot surgeries and their recovery times include the following:
- Foot fracture repair — Foot fractures make up 10% of athletic injuries. A foot fracture, or crack in one of the bones in the foot, can occur due to overuse or an impact injury. Surgery can be necessary to repair the cracked bone. Fully recovering from this repair can take between three and six months.
- Achilles tendon repair — The Achilles tendon is the strong cord located at the back of your heel bone. A tendon rupture or tear is quite common. Surgery may be necessary if noninvasive treatments don’t offer relief, or if the Achilles tendon is completely severed or severely damaged. Recovery from this surgery can take six to nine months.
- Bunion correction — Bunions are bone growths and deformities that often form at the sides of the foot. There are over 150 different kinds of bunion correction surgeries, and they can all vary on recovery time. In general, recovery from bunion surgery can take between four and six months.
4 ways to speed up your foot surgery recovery time
Foot surgery can keep you from doing any weight-bearing activity for months at a time. However, there are ways you can speed up your recovery time so that you aren’t in bed longer than you need to be.
The following techniques can help boost your foot surgery recovery time:
- Gentle stretches and exercises — Once your doctor says it is safe to gently move your foot, you can slowly start an exercise and stretch routine to decrease your recovery time after surgery. Strengthening exercises can quickly prepare your foot for weight-bearing activities in the near future. Meanwhile, foot stretches can help reduce inflammation around the site of your incision and limit scar tissue buildup. If your doctor prescribed specific rehab exercises to help your foot heal, it is important to stick to that program.
- Care for bandages and dressings — Clean bandages and dressings are crucial to a fast recovery after foot surgery. Bandages protect your wound from harmful bacteria and other particles in your environment. They also cushion your foot against friction and accidental bumps against objects like furniture. By changing them every day, you can prevent infection at the site of your surgery and encourage your wound to heal quickly.
- Stay off your feet — While your foot heals from surgery, it is important that you protect it from any kind of pressure or weight. This may mean you have to rely on devices like crutches, a wheelchair or a scooter to get around. While it may be inconvenient, keeping off your feet after surgery is in your best interest. Even placing weight on your foot accidentally can cause excruciating pain, inflame your wound and increase your recovery time.
- Virtual PT — Your at-home rehab exercises may be even more effective if a professional physical therapist is present, guiding you through proper form and technique. Virtual physical therapy platforms can give you access to on-call physical therapists from the comfort of your bed. During one-on-one virtual sessions, you can discuss with your physical therapist tips to speed up your recovery process after foot surgery. Doing so can give you motivation to stick to your routine of safe exercises and prevention tools.
Agile Virtual PT can help speed up your foot surgery recovery time
Foot surgery can require long stretches of recovery time. However, physical therapy can help speed up the process. Our team at Agile Virtual Physical Therapy can help you get back on your feet, right in the comfort of your own home. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.