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Some things to have on hand in case of foot/ankle surgery

Getting ready for surgery I made a bunch of purchases in an attempt to make my life a little easier – if you’re having a foot or ankle surgery the following items may make your life a bit easier while healing:

  • Knee Scooter – Mine was covered through insurance, though this is the same model that I have – it’s not perfect, but it makes moving around much easier (when compared to crutches) if you happen to have a mostly hard surface flooring home.
    • Knee Scooter Cover – not a necessity, but provides a bit of additional padding (and helps with sweat absorption).  All covers I found were synthetic and did not breathe really well, and mine became matted within a couple weeks of use – but it was better than the bare pad of the knee scooter.
    • Basket for Knee Scooter – this basket is for a bike, but I was able to mount it on my knee scooter to help carry light things around.
  • Forearm Crutches – I opted for forearm crutches rather than standard crutches.  They are harder to use, but don’t result in pinching or chafing under the arms like standard crutches can.  The model I have is not available on amazon (mine were issued through a medical supply company). Once I learned how to use them properly, I’ve found them to be comfortable in use.
  • Shower Bench – this was a must for bathing and showering since I could not put weight on my foot (and even with the cast off, I did not put weight on the foot without the walking boot until cleared to do so).  This one was easy to assemble and had a large range in adjustable height.  While used in the bathtub, I was able to sit on it comfortably while keeping my surgical dressed leg out of the tub without putting undue pressure on it. In the shower, I use it by putting the knee of my surgical leg on it, in a similar fashion to how I use the knee scooter.  If your bathroom is not equipped with grab bars, it may be advisable to get some temporary ones – my shower had grab bars already installed by the previous owners, and I found them very helpful.
  • Cast Cover – much better than using a garbage bag or saran wrap – I only used this once I was in an actual cast as the seal is quite tight and I was worried about disturbing the surgical dressing.  Be careful, as this model is quite long (can probably accomodate over the knee use – so for lower leg casts only there is a lot of excess “cover” dangling about).
  • Leg elevation Pillow – not a must have, but was certainly more stable than stacked pillows and cushions.  On its own, it was not tall enough to elevate at or above heart level so I wound up augmenting it with throw pillows underneath while sitting on the couch.

Things you may want when the cast comes off:

  • No Rinse Bath Wash – also would be helpful if you’re having issues getting a bath/shower.
  • Steri Strips and tincture of benzoin to help them stick – in case some of your incisions aren’t quite healed when the cast comes off.  I had to replace some of my steristrips before the incision was healed up completely.
  • Compression Socks – I’m partial to Sockwell brand but there are a lot of different kinds out there made for runners – make sure you check the sizing for both foot size and calf circumference.  I wore compression socks with my walking boot to help reduce swelling.  I continue to wear them even after I’ve graduated out of the walking boot as I’ve been advised to expect swelling and discoloration for up to 6 months post surgery.

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