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20th October 2022

Ankle Surgery Recovery Time: What To Expect and Tips To Speed Healing

Dr. Devan Patel, PharmD
Ankle Surgery Recovery Time: What To Expect and Tips To Speed Healing

Many ankle injuries may not need surgery to resolve themselves. In most cases, therapy, medications, and rest are enough to heal most ankle problems. In cases of severe ankle injury or deformity, surgery may be necessary. 


When is Ankle Surgery Necessary?

Some of the more common ankle injuries that may require surgery include fractures, tendonitis, and arthritis. But this is only done if the bones in the ankle need more support to heal, otherwise, therapy is the preferred healing method.

Other types of ankle injuries that may require surgery include:

  • Chronic ankle instability caused by frequent ankle sprains

  • Chronic tendonitis

  • Deformity of the ankle

Ankle surgery can vary from minimally invasive to full-on ankle replacement. Both types of surgeries will require general anesthesia to put you to sleep during the process. The length of your surgery and your recovery time will depend on how intrusive and serious your ankle surgery is. 

What Should You Expect Immediately After Ankle Surgery?

Immediately after your ankle surgery, you should expect to have your foot in a cast or a walking boot. You will be instructed to keep pressure off your injured ankle, so be prepared to be on crutches or in a wheelchair. Your ankle will need to be immobilized for at least several weeks after your procedure. 

Pain and swelling is common during ankle surgery recovery. Your doctor may be able to prescribe you medication for the pain but swelling may occur for up to a year after your surgery. To reduce swelling, it’s suggested to keep pressure off your ankle as much as possible. You should also try keeping your injured ankle elevated often to allow for the fluid buildup to drain. 

During this time don’t expect to return to work anytime soon. Unless you work a remote job that allows you to stay sedentary all day, don’t count on seeing your coworkers anytime soon. Most doctors or surgeons will recommend you stay off your feet completely for at least 2 weeks. 

After that, you may be gradually able to resume your normal activities. Make sure to work something out with your job beforehand and make them aware of your situation. 

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Ankle Surgery?

Everyone’s recovery time is different but generally, you should expect to be able to bear weight on your ankle 2 weeks post-surgery. After 6-8 weeks you may be able to resume your normal activities. However, this is largely dependent on how intrusive and complicated your ankle injury was. A full recovery may often take 12 weeks or longer. 

What Can You Do To Make Recovery Easier?

Take Preemptive Measures To Reduce Swelling

Swelling is a common complaint for many ankle surgery patients. You may be able to help reduce your swelling by staying off your feet for as long as you can pre-surgery. Try anti-swelling methods like applying ice to your ankle or elevating your legs above your head. 

Post-surgery these actions will be equally as important. Keep your injured ankle elevated as much as possible during the day and ice it frequently. 


Be Proactive About Your Nutrition

Your body will need plenty of energy to heal and repair itself after ankle surgery. However, not all calories are created equal. Healthy, nutritious foods are superior to processed foods that hold little nutritional value. Your body needs certain vitamins and minerals to successfully complete the wound healing process. Without the right nutrients, your recovery may take longer or heal incorrectly. 

Supplementing a healthy diet with dietary supplements can ensure you get adequate nutrients for recovery. WoundVite is a multi-nutrient supplement formulated specifically for speeding up the wound healing process.* It’s an all-natural supplement that contains key vitamins, minerals, and herbs that aid in the skin repair process, decrease inflammation, and more.* You should consider supplementation as part of your ankle recovery treatment plan.*


Don’t Skip Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is almost always involved in ankle surgery recovery, and for good reason. Physical therapy will help you regain strength, mobility, and flexibility in your ankle joint. It will help your ankle make a full recovery and leaves you less at risk for ankle problems in the future. Consistency is key when it comes to physical therapy. Make sure you take your sessions seriously and try not to miss even one. 


Collect Assistive Devices Before Your Surgery

You will have to be off your feet for a while after your ankle surgery, which makes doing simple tasks much harder. Assistive devices such as crutches, a wheelchair, grabbing sticks, and shower rails and benches will make your life much easier post-surgery. 

Having more assistive devices nearby will allow you to have more independence during your recovery. It may also put you less at risk of further injury. Trying to function normally (such as taking a shower without proper support) can lead to disaster. If you fall or hurt your injured ankle more, it will take longer to recover and may result in permanent damage. 

Follow Your Doctor’s Orders

It’s important that you attend your follow-up appointments with your doctor or surgeon and heed their advice. It’s common for people to become impatient and jump the gun on their recovery. They may think they are stronger than they are and end up injuring themselves by doing too much too soon. Remind yourself to be patient and take the advice of those who know best. 


Ankle Surgery Recovery Time: The Bottom Line

Ankle surgery isn’t an easy procedure to recover from. You should expect to be off your feet for quite some time. If ankle surgery is necessary for your situation, you should follow the tips in this article for making your recovery easier. Be patient with your recovery and do your best to prevent your ankle from further injury.



*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.