Foot amputation is surgery to remove part or all of your foot. Your doctor left as much healthy bone, skin, blood vessel, and nerve tissue as possible.
After a foot amputation, you will probably have bandages, a rigid dressing, or a cast over the remaining part of your leg or foot. The leg or foot may be swollen for 4 weeks or longer after your surgery. If you have a rigid dressing or cast, your doctor will set up regular visits to change the dressing or cast and check the healing. If you have elastic bandages, your doctor will tell you how to change them.
You may have pain in the remaining part of your foot. You also may think you have feeling or pain where your foot was. This is called phantom pain. It is common and may come and go for a year or longer. Your doctor can give you medicine for both types of pain.
You may have been fitted with a temporary artificial foot while you were still in the hospital. If this is the case, your doctor will teach you how to care for it. If you are getting an artificial foot or prosthesis, you may need to get used to it before you return to work and your other activities. You will probably not wear it all the time, so you may need to learn how to use a wheelchair, crutches, or other device. You may have to make changes in your home. Your workplace may be able to make allowances for you.
Having part or all of your foot removed is traumatic. Learning to live with new limitations can be hard and frustrating. You may feel depressed or grieve for your previous lifestyle. It is important to understand these feelings. Talking with your family, friends, and health professionals about your frustrations is an important part of your recovery. You may also find that it helps to talk with a person who has had an amputation.
Remember that even though losing a foot is difficult, it does not change who you are or prevent you from enjoying life. You will have to adapt and learn new ways to do things, but you will still be able to work and take part in sports and activities. And you can still learn, love, play, and live life to its fullest.
Many organizations can help you adjust to your new life. For example, you can find information at http://amputeecoalitioncanada.org and www.amputee.ca.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter Z645 in the search box to learn more about "Foot Amputation: What to Expect at Home".
Current as of: March 21, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
© 2006-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.