ALERT CONTENT PLACEHOLDER

Back at Home

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Call your surgeon’s office or go to the nearest emergency department if the following happens: bleeding that won’t stop, pain that worsens or doesn’t go away, swelling or loss of feeling in your foot, or fever.

How can I take care of myself when I go home?
  • Always keep the wound or dressing clean and dry according to the specific directions given to you.
  • Cold therapy (using ice packs) helps to bring down your pain and swelling after surgery. Ice packs can only be used on your knee if you have the thin dressing. Ice packs cannot be used with the large, white dressing.
    • Put the ice pack on your knee for 15 to 20 minutes every hour while you are awake. Do this every day for the first 5 to 10 days after your surgery.
    • Do not put the ice pack directly on your skin, and be careful not to get your dressing wet.
    • If you bought the Cold Compress Cuff or Cryocuff, use it as much as possible for the first week, and then as needed. Follow the directions included with the Cuff.
  • If you have a Game Ready device, please set it up and use it according to the specific instructions given to you.
  • If you have the large dressing (called a Jones dressing), your surgeon will remove it at your first follow-up appointment. This can be anywhere from a few days to up to 10 days after your surgery. A Range Of Motion (ROM) brace may be put on at that time, although this is optional.
  • Do NOT remove the dressing unless instructed to do so by your surgeon.
  • If you were instructed to remove your dressing:
    • Take off your dressing 5 days after your surgery.
    • If you have stitches, put a Band-Aid over your wound once you have taken off the dressing. You will need to wear Band-Aids for the next 7 to 10 days (until the stitches are taken out).
    • If you have steri-strips, leave them in place until they peel off on their own. You do not have to wear Band-Aids over the steri-strips.
    • Your stitches should be taken off in 12 – 14 days.
      • Make an appointment with your family doctor to have this done or make an appointment at the Fracture Clinic (416 603 5858) or Sports Medicine and Arthroscopic Surgery Clinic at the Toronto Western Hospital.
      • You may be given a pre-booked appointment at discharge. Please be sure to keep the appointment.

​Eating/Eliminating

  • You can gradually return to eating and drinking as normal. Start slowly by having fluids and soup on the first day of the surgery. Then return to your normal diet the next day.
  • If you are feeling nauseated (sick to your stomach) or you are vomiting, you can get anti-nausea medicine (such as Gravol, used orally or rectally) from your pharmacy without a prescription. Take it as directed and keep drinking fluids until the nausea passes. Then slowly return to eating your normal diet.
  • Pain medication can cause constipation. To prevent constipation, drink plenty of water and eat foods that are high in fiber. If you have not had a bowel movement for 72 hours, take Milk of Magnesia, which you can get from your pharmacy without a prescription.

​Lifestyle

  • Rest on your first day home from hospital.
  • If you had a Regional Block (if your knee had been frozen) it may take a few hours for the feeling to return. Don’t walk or move around more than you have to until all the feeling and movement returns.
  • When you are sitting or lying down, raise your foot up on 1 or 2 pillows. This prevents swelling and bleeding. Rest your heel on the pillow.
  • Start taking short walks around your home. If you were given an ROM brace, you must always wear it while you are walking. Your surgeon will decide what the range of motion will be.
  • If you have a brace, you can only remove it when: lying in bed, changing your dressing, or washing your leg.
  • When you are up walking you can use crutches or a walker.
  • You may put as much weight as tolerated on your operated leg. If you have never used crutches before, follow the instructions in the "Using Crutches" PDF Icon pamphlet.
  • Slowly begin to do more of your everyday activities.
  • You can walk up and down stairs but remember to hold onto the rail at all times.
  • Your surgeon will let you know when to begin physiotherapy.
  • Your surgeon will tell you when you can go back to work and sports. The time you have to wait depends on your job and the sport you play.

​Heavy Objects/Lifting/Exerting

  • You should not lift anything heavy or work out until after the first postoperative visit. You will be given instructions then.​

​Showering/Bathing

  • You can take a shower 3 days after your surgery. You must cover your operated leg or dressing with a plastic waterproof cover or a plastic bag. Make sure NOT to get your dressing wet.
  • Remove your ROM brace when you take a shower. Be careful when stepping out of the shower. Pat the wound dry and put your ROM brace back on as soon as you get out of the shower.
  • NO baths or swimming until your surgeon says it is safe to do so.
  • If the dressing gets wet or contaminated, you may have to change it. Call you surgeon for specific instructions.

​Medications

  • It’s normal to feel pain after having surgery. Your pain should get better after a few days. We will give you a prescription for pain medicine, and possibly for swelling. Take the prescription to a pharmacy and follow the directions for taking the medication.
  • After the first 24 hours, you can gradually decrease your pain medicine as you feel more comfortable. (Take less and less pain medicine until you don’t need any.)
  • During the surgery, your surgeon may have put a tourniquet on your thigh and inflated it to control bleeding. The pressure from the tourniquet can sometimes cause discomfort and bruising of your thigh. This is normal and will get better with time.​

​Driving

  • You cannot drive for the first 24 hours after surgery.
  • You cannot drive while taking pain medication.
  • If your driving leg was operated on, it will take 6 weeks for full reflexes to return. During this time your follow-up visits will address the issue of when it is safe to resume driving.
What should I NOT do?
  • Do not put pillows directly under your operated knee. Place the pillows under your calf or foot.
  • Do not cross your legs.
  • If you have a brace, Do NOT walk without your brace on your operated knee.
  • Do not change the settings of your ROM brace. Do not move your leg beyond the ROM setting on the brace.
  • Do not stand for long periods at a time.
  • No tiring physical activities, exercises or sports until your surgeon tells you it is safe.
  • Do not use heat packs on your operated knee.

Call your surgeon’s office or go to the nearest emergency department if the following happens:

  • You have bleeding that does not stop or soaks the dressing.
  • Your pain becomes very bad and it doesn’t get better when you take the pain medicine that we prescribed.
  • Your foot or ankle is very swollen or you have lost feeling.
  • Your toes are cold or have changed colour, or you can’t move your toes.
  • Any signs of infection such as drainage, wound discolouration, increasing pain or a high fever.
Who do I call with general post-operative questions?

The surgeon’s office is your first place to call for post-operative questions. The phone number should be available on your postoperative discharge note, or is available on our contact page.