Preparing for Surgery

Foot and Ankle Surgery Preparation

Dr. Silverman’s tips to prepare for foot and ankle surgery

A little planning before surgery will make life much easier afterwards.

After your surgery you may have crutches and a bulky splint or a cast that will limit your mobility. Everyday activities can be a bit tricky without weight bearing on one side. Plan to strictly keep the operative leg elevated to the level of your heart for the first ten days following foot or ankle surgery. Keeping swelling under control during this time will decrease complications and reduce your recovery time.

To prepare yourself for the surgery, you should consider:


  • If the operation is on your right leg, you will be unable to drive while recovering and you will need to arrange other means of transportation. If the operation is on your left leg, you will not be able to drive vehicles with manual transmission.
  • During the first 2 weeks following surgery, riding in a car is discouraged, as it is difficult to keep your leg elevated to the level of your heart.
  • Bring your temporary handicap parking permit to be completed on the day of surgery.

Cooking & Eating

  • You may have difficulty cooking while unable to stand on two feet. Prepare meals ahead of time and store them in the freezer.
  • Frozen dinners are easy to open and pop in the microwave.
  • Prune juice, prunes, and other dried fruit are good to have handy after surgery since anesthesia and pain pills can cause constipation.
  • Grocery shop before surgery to stock up on the items you will need.

Personal Care

  • Please do not get your dressing or cast wet after surgery. A wet bandage or cast may lead to infection and poor healing.
  • Plastic (clean garbage) bags held in place with duct tape also work well. Always put TWO plastic bags over your cast, as one may have a tiny hole. Use a towel wrapped around the top of the cast or splint in case the bags leak.
  • Consider arranging sleeping quarters on the same level as your kitchen and bathroom to avoid stairs.
  • Non-slip strips on the bottom of the tub or a shower/bath stool will make bathing easier and safer.


  • Baggy shorts, sweatpants, and wide bottom pants are easier to slip over a cast.
  • Patients undergoing bunion and other forefoot surgery are advised to purchase a pair of front strap adjustable, backless clogs. This type of shoe will fit after your swelling resolves and will speed your rehabilitation.

Business Matters

  • Notify your employer of the time it will take for your recovery.
  • Complete applications for short-term disability benefits and present them to Dr. Silverman on the day of surgery.
  • If you work at home, do not plan to accomplish anything several days following surgery. Anesthesia and pain control medication make it difficult to concentrate.

Around The House

  • Put things you regularly use within easy reach.
  • Stock up on reading materials, audio books, videotapes and DVDs to keep you busy while you relax at home.
  • Ask family, friends, or neighbors to help with childcare, yardwork, pet care, trash pickup, etc. while you are recuperating.
  • And, above all, don’t get in a hurry and allow yourself to become frustrated or discouraged. You’ll be amazed at how well you can adapt.

Pre-surgical preparation

Within 30 days from surgery

Your primary care physician should perform pre-operative history and physical examination. Please have a copy sent to our office by fax and to your planned surgical center.

Please discontinue the following medications:

  • Two weeks before surgery: All diet pills, anti-rheumatoid drugs such as Methotrexate, Enbrel and Remicade (unless otherwise directed by your Rheumatologist);
  • One week before surgery: All aspirin and NSAIDs such as Motrin, Advil, Aleve, Relafen, Daypro, ibuprofen; all herbal supplements and non-traditional medications such as fish oil capsules.
  • Five days before surgery: Persantine, Coumadin, Plavix and other blood thinning medications. Please check with the physician that prescribed these drugs prior to discontinuing them.

One day before surgery expect a phone call from the hospital with instructions.

On the day of surgery:


  • Arrive 2 hours prior to the surgery to permit time to check in and prepare.
  • Wear casual, comfortable clothing.
  • Leave all jewelry, body piercing elements and valuables at home.
  • Do not wear nail polish or makeup.
  • Bring a list of your current medications and their dosages with you to your pre-operative appointment.
  • Because it is normal to feel dizzy and a little sleepy after surgery, do not drive, sign important papers or make any significant decisions for 24 hours following your procedure.

Inpatient Procedures (Overnight stay):

Bring all your medications with you to the hospital.
Outpatient Procedures:

Do not come alone. You will need a friend or family member to drive you home after your surgery.

One day after Surgery

Schedule an appointment at 952-224-8500 or make the request via our contact form.


What to expect from your surgery with Dr. Silverman

Learn about specific foot and ankle procedures here.

*These timelines are a general guideline. Your post-operative course may vary. Since foot and ankle procedures commonly involve more than region of the foot, the region that heals the slowest directs the speed of rehabilitation.