Home The Book Dr Articles Products Message Boards Journal Articles Search Our Surveys Surgery ESWT Dr Messages Find Good Drs video

removing splint too soon after surgery

Posted by Tammie on 3/14/03 at 07:53 (112919)

I have been online searching for information regarding my mother's
recent foot surgery which was one week ago yesterday - Thursday, March 6. Her medical certification for work states 'Exostosis/Enthesopathy' as the
primary diagnosis and 'Enthesis Repair' as the surgical procedure. She
had a huge, painful lump on the back of her heel that she limped around
with for a very long time before seeking medical help. I took her to her
first post-op follow-up with her doctor three days ago. He pointed
out that she had obviously been putting too much weight on her foot
because the bottom of the splint was so dirty and had a worn place on the
heel. As it turns out, she has only been using one crutch to get around
instead of two -- using it mainly for support and balance, not to keep
the weight off of her foot. Wednesday, six days post-op, she removed
the splint altogether, stating that it was too uncomfortable and made it
too difficult to get around. I'm very concerned about how this will affect the healing process. I've been searching for information that I might be able to print and take to her that would explain why her foot is in the splint and what could happen if she refuses to take the doctor's post-op instructions seriously. I will be taking her for her next post-op visit on the 21st and plan to ask the doctor questions at that time, but that seems like a long time to be without the splint if she really needs it. Could she be causing herself permanent damage? Can someone please point me in the right direction? I'm very worried about my mother, but I don't want to overreact. She came home from the surgery with her foot and leg (to just
below the knee) completely bandaged and secured to an L-shaped splint.
The doctor unwrapped it Tuesday to check her progress, said it was
looking ok but that she had been on it way too much, then he wrapped it
again, put the splint back on and told her that if all went well this
week, he should be able to remove the stitches on the 21st. When I went to
check on my mother yesterday, she had taken off the splint and bandages
and just had on a sock. She said she was going to clean the incision
site and keep clean socks on. I remember when the doctor rewrapped her
foot and leg, he told her to keep it clean and dry, but I don't think he
intended for her to unwrap it to clean it or to do anything on her own
other than keep her foot elevated and stay off of it as much as!
possible. In fact, he told me that 'ideally' she should be using
a wheelchair rather than the crutches, so I know he means business about
staying off of it. As I understand it, she's supposed to wear this splint
for several weeks then be switched to a smaller one, but it looks like
she has no intention of having ANY splint at all, which is really
concerning me. Sorry this is so long. I'm hoping to have some info to take to her when I check on her today. Please help if you can. Thank you.

Re: removing splint too soon after surgery

dave r on 3/14/03 at 08:55 (112924)

You should call her doctor! that splint is there for a reason. her bandages are there to keep the incision site clean. She could have complications if it gets dirty and WET! Rest is very important here. I am assuming that she had part of the achilles detached to get rid of the bump on the back of her foot. That surgery is difficult to heel.

Re: removing splint too soon after surgery

Tammie on 3/14/03 at 09:29 (112932)

Thank you very much for your reply, Dave. I just called to check on my mother. She still has the splint and bandages off and told me that she took a shower this morning. She assured me that she didn't get the incision area wet. I told her that I've been reading about her surgery and, from what I can tell, it is very important that she keep the splint on and follow the doctor's post-op instructions. I very much want to call her doctor. I think I need to take her back in, have him examine the situation, and redo the bandaging and splint properly. I know, however, that if I call the doctor myself, my mother will be so angry that she will reject my help completely. I will definitely ask questions and be honest with her doctor on the 21st. I am going to my mother's in a little while. She said she was putting the splint back on, so I will see. What I really need is post-op information that I can print and take to her so she doesn't have to take my word for it, but I haven't been able to find anything specific enough on the web thus far. If you know where I should be looking, please let me know. Thanks!

Re: removing splint too soon after surgery

dave on 3/14/03 at 10:44 (112946)

If she still has sutures in she should not be putting any weight on that foot. That area she had surgery on is very prone to complications. She really needs to follow her doctors advice. Im sorry if you feel that you cant help her.