Elevation After Ankle Surgery

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I broke my ankle in 4 places and had to have surgery. How long post surgery does the ankle need to be elevated above the heart all day? I currently only have it down to go to the restroom. I'm about 4 weeks post surgery.

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    I would think your fine, but still keep it elevated. I'm 2 1/2 wks post op & I still keep mine elevated when sitting but not necessarily above the heart. Good luck to you

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  • Posted

    I was told u could let it down for 1-2 hrs a day
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    • Posted

      That's about all I've been doing so far. Anything more I can feel the swelling. I'm just wondering at what week in recovery that will change. At this point even that seems like a luxury!

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    • Posted

      By week three I could do a bit more plus I could hop instead of using my crutches, I'm 4 and a half weeks now and I managed a full roast and out and about iny wheel chair. 

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  • Posted

    If it still swells when you have it down, it a good idea to elevate when possible. It will make your recovery easier if you get the swelling in check.
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  • Posted

    You may not need to keep it elevated high still, but you'll probably still need to keep elevated a lot. Your ankle will let you know when it's had enough and needs to be elevated. I'm 11 weeks post op and still elevate it at least some whenever I'm seated. And if it's just down for more than 45 mins or so it's letting me know it's unhappy.

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    • Posted

      I started walking a few weeks ago (in a boot). The more I walk the less swelling I have over all. My job is primarily seated, so since I'm not moving it needs to be up.  If I'm standing and walking, it doesn't bother me from a swelling stand point nearly as much.

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  • Posted

    Hi Karli,

    I am 9 weeks post Subtalar Fusion.  I kept my foot elevated nonstop for the first 4 weeks.  Then my doctor had me start putting it down every so often to get the circulation working.  At that point, anytime it was down, my whole foot turned a dark purple.  I could tolerate about 30 minutes of it, just long enough to shower and rush back to the couch to elevate.  At my 6 week mark, my doctor told me to go ahead and leave my foot down most of the day if I wanted and only be concerned if I start having significant pain.  He was not concerned about the discoloration as long as it didn't hurt and it would return to normal color once elevated.  So I began only elevating my foot for maybe 1-2 hours a day.  My foot and calf began swelling when in a dependent position, but my discoloration started getting better. 

    At 9 weeks, my foot no longer turns purple, but rather a dark pink which shows progress.  My foot and calf still swell after a few hours of my foot being down but it is controlled with rest, ice, and elevation.

    Moral of the story, our feet will hurt and swell when used, but wont get better unless we use them.  So as long as it doesn't hurt beyond a pain that can be controlled with Tylenol and ice, I would say press on.

    Good luck!

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    • Posted

      Thanks! That's really helpful to hear specific advice like that. Good luck in your continued recovery

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