Information for patients
This leaflet can be made available in other formats including large print, CD and Braille and in languages other than English, upon request.
You have had an operation (surgery) on your foot.
This leaflet tells you what to expect and who to contact if you have any questions or concerns when you go home.
How will I feel when I go home?
You will have pain in your foot when the local anaesthetic wears off. This pain is usually worst for the first 2 days. The painkillers you have been given on discharge should help, we would advise that pain relief is taken regularly for the best pain relieving effect.
You should always follow the instructions provided in the leaflet supplied with your tablets. You will be given a leaflet ‘Pain relief after foot surgery’, telling you how to take your tablets.
You should contact the Podiatric Surgery Department of the GP Out of Hours Service (see contact numbers at the end of this leaflet) immediately if you:
- Have any heavy bleeding showing through the dressing, you should check the top and bottom of your dressing.
- Feel feverish or unwell or develop a temperature above 38oC (100.4oF).
- Have severe pain which is not controlled by your pain killers.
- Have pain away from your surgery site, for example, in your calf as this could be a sign of a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
- Have an accidental injury to your foot.
What do I need to do when I go home?
You must have a responsible adult to take you home and stay with you for the first 48 hours.
- Go straight home. Have your leg raised on the way, if possible.
- When you get home sit with your leg raised slightly above the level of your hip to reduce the swelling in your foot. You can do this by resting your leg on a cushion when sitting.
- Keep your dressing clean and dry at all times. This also applies if you are wearing a cast.
- Wear your special shoe at all times, even in bed, for the first week after your operation.
- Apply an ice pack, for example, a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel, on top of your ankle to help reduce the swelling and pain. Do not use the ice pack for more than 10 minutes in each hour.
You should not:
- Remove your dressing. This will be done at your redressing appointment.
- Have heavy bed covers resting on your foot.
- Leave your house for the first week after your operation, unless you need to visit your healthcare professional.
- Sit with your feet down or your legs crossed as this will cause more swelling.
If you have had an ankle block (local anaesthetic nerve block around your ankle).
- Be aware that the effect of the local anaesthetic in your foot will last between 4 and 6 hours. As the local anaesthetic wears off you may feel pins and needles in your foot. These will disappear as the normal sensation in your foot comes back.
- Exercise your legs regularly by bending your knees and ankles while sitting. This will help to reduce any swelling and risk of DVT developing.
- Try to walk around the house for 5 minutes in each hour on the second day after your operation. You should be able to stand and walk around carefully using your crutches, if you have been given them. Do not use the crutches on the stairs.
If you have had a popliteal nerve block (local anaesthetic nerve block to the back of your leg).
- Be aware that the effect of the local anaesthetic in your leg and foot will last between 4 and 48 hours – average about 10-12 hours. As the local anaesthetic wears off you may feel pins and needles in your foot. These will disappear as the normal sensation in your leg and foot comes back.
- Be aware that you will lose the muscle power in your leg while it is numb. You should not put any weight on your leg/foot until the local anaesthetic has worn off. Use the crutches or walking frame to help you walk. You may need help to stand up from a sitting position or walking. Do not use the crutches or walking frame on the stairs.
- Exercise your legs regularly by bending your knees while sitting. This will help to reduce any swelling and risk of DVT developing.
If you are wearing a cast.
You should not:
- Put any weight on your leg or foot until advised to do so by your healthcare professional. Use the crutches or walking frame to help you walk. You may need help to stand up from a sitting position or walking. Do not use the crutches or walking frame on the stairs.
When will I be able to return to normal activities or work?
You should not:
- Drive for at least 6 weeks or until your healthcare professional advises you otherwise.
- Return to work until advised to do so by your healthcare professional. He or she will advise you when you can return depending on the type of work you do and the operation you have had.
- You will be given advice on how to gradually increase your walking but must avoid sports until advised.
Will I need a follow-up appointment?
You will have been given an appointment to attend the podiatric surgery clinic 7-14 days after your operation. Your bandages will be taken off, your foot checked and the sutures (stitches) removed if your wound has healed. New dressings will be put on if your wound has not healed.
Your GP will be informed of your operation.
If you have any worries or concerns, 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 the GP Out of Hours Service. If you live in the Stockton or Hartlepool area, telephone 111.
Further information is available from:
Royal College of Podiatry
2nd floor, Quartz House
207 Providence Square
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: PIL1195
Date for review: December 2026