Whether you are having an arthroscopy, receiving a new joint, removing a bunion or something else, foot and ankle surgery can be life-changing. It’s amazing to see the difference in the New Yorkers who visit my office after their medical issues are relieved. On rare occasions, an infection can throw a wrench in the process and impact healing. This can be both painful and frustrating, and even make revision surgery necessary. If you want to help keep infections away, keep the following in mind.
Choose your facility wisely
Before you have any procedure done, it’s important that you investigate your doctor’s training as well as how well they work to maintain cleanliness in their clinic space. Don’t hesitate to ask for credentials and degrees. Ideally, your physician should be board-certified in his or her area of expertise and have past experience with similar medical procedures. They should also adhere to a strict standard of cleanliness. For example, a facility should have at least one person trained in infection prevention and control and have a manual detailing the policies and procedures for the practice to prevent and control infections. If you notice things that don’t seem normal, like a nurse or doctor forgetting to wash their hands or improperly discarding contaminated materials, don’t be afraid to speak up or leave. Your quality of care matters, and we take pride in ensuring that our facilities are neat and sterile.
Keep it clean
One of the best ways to prevent an infection is to keep your wounds clean. Thanks to advances in technology, incision areas are now smaller than ever (with less scarring to boot!), but they are still prone to causing problems. Be sure to follow post-surgical protocol, including how often you clean your body and change your bandages. It might be necessary to ask a trusted loved one to assist you. If this is not possible, you can hire at-home care to lend a hand. We’ll also look for any problems during your post-op check ins.
If you notice any signs of infection, it’s important that you address them as soon as possible. Early indicators include swelling or pain that lasts longer than we discuss it should. You may also notice abnormal fluid seeping from your incision area or find that it smells strongly. Skin that is particularly red or hot to the touch is also a sign that something is off with your healing. Trained professionals may notice the symptoms during your routine physical therapy or check ups, but it’s essential that you keep an eye out for them as well.
Recovering from a foot or ankle procedure can be frustrating enough, and dealing with an infection during that time only complicates the matter. By keeping an eye out and advocating for your health, you can help stop infection before it starts. If you have any questions about infections and how they might influence and upcoming surgery, don’t hesitate to connect with us. We’re happy to help!