Instructions for after your Ankle or Hindfoot Fusion Surgery


In the First 24 Hours

Try and keep your leg elevated. The foot should be above the level of your hip as much as possible.

Take regular pain relief. Paracetamol and an anti-inflammatory (like Voltaren) are the best combination for pain relief. Occasionally stronger pain relief may be required but should be used only for a couple of days if possible.

The pain will increase when the local anaesthetic wears off (usually around 6-8 hours) so take the pain relief before it gets too sore.

If the cast is too tight then these can be released. But the problem is usually a lack of elevation so try this first.

Don’t worry about any blood ooze through the cast. This is normal and is because the cast is like blotting paper and draws the ooze to the surface.

 Cast Overwrap and Walking Aids

The cast will be over wrapped with synthetic cast on the first day if swelling is not an issue. If swelling is a concern then this will be delayed a day.

You will require crutches and will not be able to weightbear through the cast for the first six weeks.

Cast Changes and Moonboots 

You will be in a cast for six weeks. The first cast is changed at 2 to 3 weeks to ensure the wound is well healed and also to allow for a more supportive cast to be applied, as the swelling will decrease.

At 6 weeks you will go into a moon-boot for a further 4 weeks or until the x-ray confirms that fusion of the ankle/hindfoot has occurred.

Discharge from Hospital

Generally patients will stay in hospital for one night and go home the next day. Occasionally with more complex surgery patients may stay a second night.

The nurses will help you with instructions on mobility and simple daily activities such as showering etc before you got home.

Stitches or Sutures

The sutures are dissolvable and are all under the skin, so will not need to be removed.

The First Week

Continue with regular pain relief. Try and avoid anti-inflammatories (such as Diclofenac/Voltaren, Ibuprofen etc) after you leave hospital as this can slow down the bone healing.

Elevation is still very important. Swelling from excessive standing or sitting puts pressure on the wounds causing pain and increasing the chance of a wound complication such as an infection etc.

Gradually increase your activity after the first week.

What to Watch Out For

If you have concerns in the first few days after discharge, you can call Manuka Street Hospital on(03) 548 8566 for advice. Staff are on the ward 24 hours of the day. You can contact Mr Peterson’srooms during business hours (03) 539 0988 if you have any concerns.

If you develop calf pain, chest pain, shortness of breath then you need to either see your GP promptlyor be seen in an Emergency Clinic/Hospital.

Follow-up Appointment

You should be provided with an appointment time for follow-up around 2 to 3 weeks followingyour surgery.

If you have any concerns or need to alter your appointment please contact Mr Peterson’s rooms on(03) 539 0988. Your follow-up will be at the Collingwood Centre, level 1, 105 Collingwood St, Nelson.

 Click here to download the instructions as a pdf