Information for patients
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What should I expect after my dressings are removed?
- Sutures (stitches): any stitches that need to be removed will be taken out by your healthcare professional at your redressing appointment. These may bleed slightly. If this happens keep the area clean, dry and covered with a dressing for 24 hours.
If dissolvable stitches have been used, these do not need to be removed. The healed wound on your foot is delicate at first and needs to be treated with care.
- Swelling: it is normal for your foot to swell within the first 3 months especially after a busy day or lots of standing. This usually gets better with time however it may take several months for the swelling in your foot to fully disappear.
- Discolouration: your foot may appear red/purple in colour for the first few months following your foot surgery. This is due to increased blood flow as your foot heals and is usually most noticeable when your foot is warm, such as after activity or after a hot bath or shower.
- Loss of sensation: some loss of sensation and numbness around your operation site in your foot is normal. This is usually noticed in the first two or three months after your operation. A year following the operation, the numbness can improve and normal sensation return.
- Shoes: you can now wear a clean cotton sock and a trainer or other suitable lace-up shoe on your operated foot. You should expect to wear these shoes for the first six to eight weeks after your operation.
If you are unsure what type of shoe to wear, please ask the healthcare professional at your redressing appointment. A trainer style shoe will help to reduce some of the swelling in your foot.
The shoe may feel tight at first when you put it on your foot. To help with this, it is best for you to put your shoe on first thing in the morning and keep the shoe on as long as possible during the day. Slip-on shoes and slippers should be avoided as these can encourage swelling.
- Bathing: wash but do not soak your foot in water for the first week after your dressings have been removed. Gently dry your foot and in-between your toes with a clean towel.
If you notice any weeping from the wound on your foot, cover the area with a clean dry dressing and contact the Podiatric Surgery Department for advice.
- Use of creams: when your wound on your foot is healed and dry, you can start to use moisturising cream on the scar. Most moisturising creams can be used, such as E45, Aqueous cream and Vaseline Intensive Care. Scar creams such as Bio-Oil can also be used.
Rub the cream gently into the scar on your foot twice a day especially after bathing. This may be uncomfortable at first. Do not use creams on wounds that have not healed.
What exercises do I need to do after my foot surgery?
You will be advised if you need to do any exercises after your foot surgery to help to get the movement back in your big toe joint.
- You will be given a long piece of green elastic band (Theraband).
- Sit with your foot and leg out in front of you on a bed or sofa.
- Place the centre of the band under your big toe. Keeping hold of the two ends of the band, pull gently on the band so that there is some tension (tightness) in it.
- Push your toe away from you against the band. Hold for five seconds and then relax. Repeat 10 times, 5 times per day. This exercise may feel uncomfortable, which is normal but stop if it is painful.
- Lay a towel or the piece of green elastic band (theraband) on the floor.
- Sit on a chair with your foot on the towel.
- Try to pick up the towel by scrunching your toes.
- Now straighten the towel out, again using your toes. Repeat 10 times 5 times per day.
Keeping the movement in your toe
This exercise can be performed sitting down and in shoes at first and then you can progress to standing barefoot.
- Put your foot flat on the ground with your big toe on the floor. Lift your heel off the ground keeping your toes flat on the floor (as if you were wearing a heeled shoe).
- Hold this for a count of ten, then relax. Repeat 10 times, 5 times per day guided by pain. As this exercise becomes easier, gradually put more weight on to the operated foot.
When will I be able to return to normal activities or work?
- Activities: you can start to gradually return to normal walking after your foot operation. If you have been using crutches, you can usually stop using them at this stage. Your foot may still be uncomfortable, particularly towards the end of the day and you must increase your walking slowly.
If you have to take painkillers or are getting a lot of pain at the end of the day, you should slow down. You are probably doing too much. If you are getting pain in your foot which is not improving, please contact the Podiatric Surgery Department for advice.
- Sports/exercise: it is important to get advice from your healthcare professional before you start any sport or exercise programme after your foot operation.
It is generally advised that swimming should be avoided for about six weeks and activities such as running, jogging, Zumba, aerobics avoided for three months following foot surgery. A gradual return to exercise is recommended.
- Driving: you may start driving when you feel confident that you are safe and can perform an emergency stop. It is advised that you do not drive for at least six weeks after your foot operation. You should also seek advice from your motor insurance provider before you drive.
- Work: you will be advised when you are able to return to work.
Will I need a follow-up appointment?
You will be sent an appointment for a telephone review six months after your operation. If you have any problems or concerns before this appointment you should contact the Podiatric Surgery Team.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust
Podiatric Surgery Team
One Life Hartlepool
Central booking office: 01429 522471
Monday – Friday: 8.30am – 4.30pm
Outside surgery hours you should contact your GP Out of Hours Service. Telephone: 111 (when it is less urgent than 999)
Further information is available from
Telephone: 111 (when it is less urgent than 999)
Calls to this number are free from landlines and mobile phones or via the website at www.nhs.uk
Comments, concerns, compliments or complaints
Patient Experience Team (PET)
We are continually trying to improve the services we provide. We want to know what we’re doing well or if there’s anything which we can improve, that’s why the Patient Experience Team (PET) is here to help. Our Patient Experience Team is here to try to resolve your concerns as quickly as possible. The office is based on the ground floor at the University Hospital of North Tees if you wish to discuss concerns in person. If you would like to contact or request a copy of our PET leaflet, please contact:
Telephone: 01642 624719
Freephone: 0800 092 0084
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:00pm
Email: [email protected]
Out of hours
Out of hours if you wish to speak to a senior member of Trust staff, please contact the hospital switchboard who will bleep the appropriate person.
Telephone: 01642 617617
Data protection and use of patient information
The Trust has developed Data Protection policies in accordance with Data Protection Legislation (UK General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. All of our staff respect these policies and confidentiality is adhered to at all times. If you require further information on how we process your information please see our Privacy Notices.
Telephone: 01642 383551
Email: [email protected]Privacy Notices
This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to the Clinical Governance team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE or:
Email: [email protected]
Leaflet reference: PIL1260
Date for review: 23/09/2023