A total ankle replacement could eliminate pain from ankle arthritis and help get back some of your mobility. In this surgery, your doctor removes damaged joint tissue and puts in a plastic implant and metal caps that make a new joint that allows your ankle to have a full range of motion. You might need to wear a cast for several weeks after your total ankle replacement surgery, so it's important to prepare your home ahead of the procedure. Here are some ways to get your home ready for your recovery.
Have Equipment Ready For Your Return Home
Your doctor lets you know what type of equipment you'll need at home for your recovery. Since you won't be able to bear weight on your ankle right away, you'll need crutches, a wheelchair, or a knee walker. Your doctor might even send you to a physical therapist so you can learn how to use the mobility aids before you have surgery.
The therapist might also suggest other equipment you might need around the house to help you get in and out of bed, use the bathroom, and get in and out of the shower safely. You'll need to learn how to do many things while staying off your ankle, including how to get in and out of a car so you can keep your doctor and physical therapy appointments.
Consider Moving Your Bed To The Living Room
If your bedroom is upstairs, you'll probably want to set up a temporary bedroom downstairs since climbing the steps will be very difficult if not impossible for a few weeks after your surgery. By having your bed in the same general living space where you'll be doing other activities, you won't feel isolated if you have difficulty getting in and out of bed.
Plus, if you have family helping you recover, it may be easier for them if your bed is in a room that's large enough to maneuver a wheelchair and that's close to a bathroom and kitchen.
Organize Your Supplies To Be Within Easy Reach
You may need to reach for things while seated in a wheelchair or while balanced on a knee walker, so it's a good idea to keep things you'll be using often within easy reach. This includes grooming supplies, food, electronics, and medications. Ideally, you'll have someone staying with you to help out until you are mobile and can take care of yourself easily, but if not, think of ways to adapt your home to make life easy when you can only stand on one leg and you tire easily.
Eliminate Tripping Hazards
You won't need to stay on bed rest while you recover. Instead, your doctor will want you to be mobile if possible so you can reduce the risk of complications from your surgery. You may just start by sitting up in a chair and taking short walks, but your activity will increase over time. Make sure there are no rugs or cords that you can trip over or get tangled in with your wheelchair.
Your doctor lets you know how soon you can resume all of your usual activities, but until then, follow a doctor's instructions for rest and exercise so you get the best results from your total ankle replacement and have the quickest recovery.