General Post-Operative Instructions for Ankle Arthroscopy and Debridement
The Number To Call For Any Problems Or Questions Is: 503-214-5200
You will feel a little off for a day or two after the anesthetic. During that time you should not drink alcoholic beverages, make any important decisions or engage in any potentially hazardous activities. It is very common to be slightly nauseated and you should start with a light, low fat diet until your appetite comes back. Don’t drink cold water, as it can upset your stomach.
Bathing and Wound Care:
It is not unusual for some blood to show through on the dressing. If bleeding seems to be continuing after the first 12 hours and the area is larger than 2 inches or so, please call the office.
The dressing should cover the wounds and support the leg but should not feel overly tight or uncomfortable. If it seems too tight you should call the office or go to the ER if it is after hours.
DO NOT Remove the dressing until you have been seen in the office.You should not submerge the incisions in a pool, hot tub or bath until the sutures or tape strips have been removed in the office.
A long acting local anesthetic is injected into the ankle after surgery and usually wears off 6-12 hours later. As it wears off your ankle will begin to hurt more.
The interval for taking pain medication, as noted on the bottle, is a minimum interval. You should not take the medication more frequently than that. You may take the medication less often than on the prescription if you are not in pain.
You have been prescribed a narcotic pain medication. This medication should be taken to relieve pain, not to prevent it. You should not set your alarm clock to remind you to take your pain medicine, nor should you take it on a set schedule even if you are not hurting, as this can result in overdosing of the medication.
If you do not have trouble with ulcers or stomach pain, and if you do not have kidney problems, you may also take an anti-inflammatory medication in addition to or instead of the narcotic medicine. After the first day or two you may take an over the counter anti inflammatory. An average sized adult may take three 200 mg ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) tablets every 8 hours, or Aleve two tablets twice a day, with food for a period of two weeks.
Elevation and Ice:
Elevation is the best way to decrease your pain and swelling. It only counts as elevation if your ankle is above your heart. Sitting in a chair with your foot on the coffee table is not enough. Please ice and elevate your leg for at least the first three days after surgery.
Range of Motion:
One of the problems that people have after this type of surgery is ankle stiffness. In order to minimize that you should work your ankle through a range of motion starting approximately three to four days after surgery to keep it form stiffening up. A good way to start is to draw the alphabet with your big toe at least four times a day. The most common part of the motion to have difficulty with is moving your ankle so that your toes come up toward your head rather than moving your toes downward.
You may put weight on your ankle as tolerated. It will be uncomfortable at first and you are welcome to use crutches if you wish but you do not have to use them.
If your injured ankle is on the left and you have a car with an automatic transmission, you should be mechanically able to perform the functions associated with normal driving.
If your right ankle is the injured one, you are not able to use your right leg to push on the brake or accelerator and are thus not mechanically able to perform the functions associated with normal driving.
You should be mechanically able to do the things needed to drive. We cannot tell you what would happen if you did something that hurt and led to your losing concentration etc. You must make your own determination as to whether you are safe to drive.
You cannot drive if you are taking narcotic pain medication.
If you did not have your post op appointment arranged prior to surgery, you should call the office to arrange for an appointment that works for you. You need to be seen in 6-8 days.
Some Reasons to Call:
Fever greater than 101.5 (it is very common to have a low grade fever the first night or two after surgery)
Redness or swelling that is spreading from the edges of the incisions
Pain that is out of control or worsening and not relieved by rest, elevation, ice and pain medication.
Chest pain, shortness of breath
If You Think That You Have An Urgent Problem That Needs To Be Seen Right Away, Then Go To The Emergency Room.