Post-Op Instructions for the Ankle


  • Begin with clear liquids and light foods (Jello, soups, clear liquids, etc.)
  • Progress to your normal diet if you are not nauseated as tolerated

Wound Care

  • To avoid infection, keep surgical incisions clean and dry – you may shower by placing a large garbage bag over your splint starting the day after surgery – NO immersion of operative leg (i.e. bath) It is normal for the ankle to bleed and swell following surgery – if blood soaks onto the bandage, do not become alarmed – reinforce with additional dressing

DO NOT submerge the incision and Splint in water (i.e. NO bath, hot tub or pool, etc.)


  • The local anesthesia was injected into your incision during surgery will wear off within 6-8 hours
  • Most patients will require some narcotic pain medication for a short period of time
  • Primary Medication = Percocet
    • Take 1 – 2 tablets every 4 – 6 hours as needed
    • Do not take more than 10 pills per day
    • Plan on using it for 2 to 5 days, depending on level of pain
    • Do NOT take additional Tylenol (Acetaminophen) while taking Norco, Vicodin or Percocet
  • For larger surgeries, some patients will also be prescribed Oxycodone (5mg) to be used for breakthrough pain
    • Take 1 – 2 tablets every 4 – 6 hours as needed
    • If given Oxycodone, this should be used as a supplement during the first few days after the Surgery. As the pain level improves you should transition to just Percocet medication for residual pain.
  • Common side effects of the pain medication are nausea, drowsiness, and constipation – to decrease the side effects, take medication with food.
    • If constipation occurs, consider taking an over-the-counter laxative such as prune juice, Senekot, Colace (or Periocolase), or Miralax
  • For nausea, take the prescribed Zofran as needed
  • If you are having problems with nausea and vomiting, contact the office to possibly have your medication changed
***DO NOT drive a car or operate machinery while taking the narcotic medication
  • Ibuprofen 400-600mg (i.e., Advil, Motrin, Aleve) may be taken in between the narcotic pain medication to help smooth out the postoperative “peaks and valleys”, reduce overall amount of pain medication required, and increase the time intervals between narcotic pain medication usage


  • Elevate the operative leg to above chest level whenever possible to decrease swelling
  • Use crutches to assist with walking – Do NOT bear any weight on your operative leg – unless instructed otherwise by physician
  • Do not engage in activities which increase ankle pain/swelling (prolonged periods of standing or walking) over the first 10-14 days following surgery
  • Avoid long periods of sitting (without leg elevated) or long distance traveling for 2 weeks
  • NO driving until instructed otherwise by physician
  • May return to sedentary work ONLY or school 3-4 days after surgery, if pain is tolerable

Ice Therapy

  • Begin immediately after surgery
  • Use icing machine continuously or ice packs (if machine not prescribed) every 2 hours for 15 to 20 minutes daily until your first postoperative visit
    • Remember to keep leg elevated to level of chest while icing


  • No exercise or motion is to be done until instructed to do so by your physician after the first post-operative visit
  • Formal physical therapy (PT) will begin about 10-14 days post-operatively with a prescription provided at your first post-operative visit


Contact Dr. Campbell’s office at NYU Langone Seaport Orthopaedics or at the NYU Center for Musculoskeletal Care at 646-356-9407 based on the location that you have your regular office visits, if any of the following are present:

  • Painful swelling or numbness
  • Unrelenting pain
  • Fever (greater than 101° – it is normal to have a low grade fever for the first day or two following surgery) or chills
  • Redness around incisions
  • Color change in the lower extremity
  • Continuous drainage or bleeding from incision (a small amount of drainage is expected)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive nausea/vomiting

**If you have an emergency after office hours or on the weekend, call (NYU Langone Seaport Orthopaedics ; or NYU Center for Musculoskeletal Care at 646-356-9407; or the NYU-HJD Sports Medicine Clinic on 23rd Street at 212-598-6321) based on the location that you have your regular office visits and you will be connected to our page service – they will contact Dr. Campbell. Please Do NOT call the hospital or Surgicenter.

**If you have an emergency that requires immediate attention, proceed to the nearest emergency room.

Follow-Up Care/Questions

  • Dr. Campbell will call you on your first day after surgery to address any questions or concerns. If you have not been contacted within 48 hours of surgery, please email Dr. Campbell or call directly (NYU Langone Seaport Orthopaedics ; or NYU Center for Musculoskeletal Care at 646-356-9407; or the NYU-HJD Sports Medicine Clinic on 23rd Street at 212-598-6321 based on the location that you have your regular office visits)
  • If you have additional questions that arise at any time, please send an email to Dr. Campbell for the fastest reply [javascript protected email address] . If email is not an option please call the office.
  • If you do not already have a postoperative appointment scheduled, please contact the scheduling office during normal office hours to make a follow-up appointment.
  • NYU Langone Hospitals link
  • NYU Langone Health link
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons link
  • Arthroscopy Association of North America link
  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine link
  • American Shoulder And Elbow Surgeons link