While customized orthotics and at-home treatments such as rest and compression are often extremely helpful with daily foot pain and discomfort, those treatments can only go so far. When conservative treatment options aren’t providing the results you want, surgery may become necessary. Scheduling that procedure takes more than just deciding on a specific day or time, however. Our Idaho podiatrists discuss what to consider when planning for foot surgery.
Key Factors to Consider When Scheduling Foot or Ankle Surgery
Nearly 75% of people in the U.S. experience some type of foot pain in their lifetime. Because a foot can bear up to three times a person’s body weight, it’s not surprising that it’s subject to many types of injuries and conditions. Injections, splints, and other treatments typically address foot pain and other symptoms, but they don’t actually fix the root problem. Sometimes, surgery may be the right choice for foot conditions causing pain or problems walking.
Surgical solutions for foot problems such as Hammertoes or bunions can usually be scheduled at your convenience. However, if you need any type of reconstructive surgery on your feet or ankles, it’s important to take into account far more than just a specific slot on the calendar.
Think About More Than Your Schedule
- Age. This is often the most overlooked factor. Patients sometimes feel their condition isn’t that bad and can be dealt with easily. However, the older you get, the harder surgeries are to recover from. Don’t put off a needed surgery for years just because you think you can tough it out and deal with minor pain. The original condition causing the problem may become much worse, and the downtime can increase significantly as you get older.
- Athletic sports seasons. Patients who live active lifestyles should plan ahead, so their recovery occurs before it’s time to begin playing sports or exercising in good weather.
- Holidays. Planning for time off work to recover is generally a good idea, but you also need to consider whether your physical condition will limit your ability to attend holiday events. Also, remember that medical staff typically has time off around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year.
- Travel plans. Your upcoming itinerary may be disrupted, as it could become difficult to travel to reunions, vacations, weddings, and other major events in the weeks after surgery.
- Work responsibilities. If you need to stay off your feet for an extended period or use a cast or crutches, you may have to perform reduced duties at work or simply take time off.
Other Considerations Before Foot Surgery
Picking the right time for surgery is important, but you also need to have an adequate support system. It’s important to pick a time for surgery when you will have a family member or friend who can assist with your needs. After surgery, you could require help with normal activity and need adaptive equipment such as a knee scooter to get around for a few weeks.
Finally, it may be in your best interest to put money in a tax-free account ahead of time. Patients could use a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA), or health reimbursement accounts (HRA) to cover surgical costs.