PRE-OPERATIVE LOWER EXTREMITY INSTRUCTIONS
You are scheduled to have surgery on your lower extremity. Legs and feet generally take
longer to heal than any other part of the body. Following surgery, it is very important to
decrease your activity so that your wound can heal properly.
For 1-2 weeks after your surgery you will need to limit your activity. You will need to
spend most of your time with your surgical leg or foot elevated in a recliner or on the
sofa. You can get up for short periods of time and to use the restroom. You may need to
have someone help you with your daily activities for a few days.
After the first couple of weeks, you will be able to increase your activity by 25% each
week until you are back to normal which usually takes 4-5 weeks. It is still important to
keep your leg elevated often and to wear an ace wrap or compression stocking during the
day until fully healed.
Depending on what type of work you do, you may need to be off work for one or more
weeks. We realize these restrictions may be difficult to do, but following these
instructions will aid in the success of your healing. Returning to your regular activity too
soon can attribute to having problems with infection, scarring, dehiscence (wound
opening up) or a chronic wound that takes several weeks or months to heal.
Prior to surgery, we ask that you purchase knee high compression stockings (15-20 or 20-
30 mm Hg) at your local pharmacy. Follow the package instructions for sizing. You
may also be measured for stockings at UW Health Care Wear if ordered by your primary
doctor. Medicare and other insurance companies may not cover this cost. An ace wrap
may be used if stockings are not obtained.
Please call our clinic if there are any concerns or questions.
UW Health West Clinic UW Health East Clinic UW Health 1 South Park
451 Junction Road 5249 Terrace Drive 1 S. Park Street
Madison, WI 53717 Madison, WI 53718 Madison, WI 53715
608-263-6226 608-265-1288 608-287-2450
800-323-8942 800-323-8942 800-323-8942
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call
if you have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with
your doctor. This is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical
condition. Because each person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on
your health care team when using this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911.
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by the Department of Nursing HF#7554