If you’ve just had foot or ankle surgery, or if you’re planning to, chances are your doctor has instructed you to remain non-weightbearing for a few weeks or longer.
What does it mean to be non-weightbearing?
Sometimes referred to as N.W.B., non-weightbearing are restrictions placed on you immediately after you’ve had surgery. It means that absolutely no weight can be applied on the surgically repaired foot. None at all. Not even for a quick second. Why? Because even a little bit of stress can do damage to the repair that’s been done, increase swelling, and interrupt the healing of surgical wounds. What are your options for getting around?
- Create your nest
- Ask for help
- Organize and strategize for daily tasks
- Rent a mobility device
If you’re an active person, it might sound next to impossible to live life without putting one of your feet on the ground. Well, you might not like it, and it will certainly take some adjustment, but it’s doable. We promise. Here are some tips for remaining non-weightbearing while you recover from foot or ankle surgery.
5 tips on how to keep one foot non-weightbearing
Create your nest
Once you’ve been instructed by your orthopaedic foot and ankle specialist to keep the weight off your foot while it heals from surgery, you’ll soon realized how much you actually move around. Even on the days when you binge-watch your favorite Netflix shows, you get up for snacks, tissue, your phone, and so on. But when you’re non-weightbearing, you’ll have to resist getting up and moving around as much as possible.
To make it easier to stay put, you can recreate the area around the bed or the couch, or wherever you’re going to settle in to heal. Put a stack of books or magazines on the nightstand or end table. Keep your phone, charger, and TV remote nearby. If you can, stock a mini-fridge to keep snacks and drinks within reach. Create easy access to everything you might want to get up for: your laptop, lotion, pain medication, lip balm, hand wipes, pen and paper. Then, pile up the pillows in your nest, and get comfortable.
Ask for help
It may not be easy asking for help, but you might be surprised by how willing people are when you do. Meal preparation often requires a lot of standing. If you have a family member at home who is willing to take over meals, it will save you a lot of trouble. Or if you live alone, but have a large family nearby or several church members, for example, they can help you on rotation without creating too much extra work for any one person. Otherwise, consider a meal delivery service or purchasing ready-made food at your grocery store.
Organize and strategize for daily tasks
You’ll have to get up out of your nest occasionally to do things like shower and heat up your meals. The more organized you are about these tasks, the less frustrating it will be. For example, you may want to have all your daily hygiene supplies (toothpaste, deodorant, moisturizer, etc) in one easily accessible basket. In another basket, put things you’ll need less often (tweezers, nail file, razors, etc). This way, even if you have someone helping you, they won’t have to go searching for the items you need. Place a chair in the bathroom so you can sit while you brush your teeth and comb your hair, etc.
Rent a mobility device
Let’s face it. Hopping on one foot from the bedroom to the bathroom would get tiresome. Even if you could manage to do so, it would be difficult to resist placing your healing foot on the ground here and there. A mobility device is key. Although it may take some getting used to, it’ll help you keep the weight off your foot so it can heal faster. At PA Healthcare, we have several options for you:
A wheelchair can be useful in your home if you clear the obstructions (coffee tables, throw rugs) out of the way. And because they’re built for both indoor and outdoor use, wheelchairs will allow you to get outside and get some fresh air while you’re still healing. Most wheelchairs are lightweight and collapsible for easy transport. At PA Healthcare, we offer both standard and electric wheelchairs for rent.
Steerable Knee Scooter/Roller Rental
The steerable knee scooter is designed with a kneepad and wheels. You place your knee on the pad and roll yourself forward using the handlebars to steer and balance. It features tool-free adjustment to fit each person comfortably. It’s lightweight and folds easily for storage and transportation. The steerable knee scooter makes a huge difference in getting around the house after foot or ankle surgery.
Power Scooter Rental
The mobility scooter, or power scooter, is a great option for when you’re ready to get back outside and take care of some of those errands on your own but still need to keep the weight off your foot. You’ll ride upright and steer with the handlebars. Because these scooters usually don’t fold, they’re less convenient to transport than a wheelchair, but if you’re within walking distance of your post office or grocery store, the scooter can help you get there. The basket can hold some groceries, your mail, or any other small items you may need to bring along.
Hands-Free Crutch Rental
The iWalk 2.0 hands-free crutch is an award-winning medical mobility device that can help end the pain and inconvenience of standard crutches. The iWALK2.0 is a great solution for non-weightbearing lower leg injuries. It’s easy to use allows you more comfort and mobility than standard crutches.
Recovering from foot or ankle surgery won’t be easy, but we can help
At PA Healthcare in San Diego, we understand how disruptive it can be when you’re instructed to remain non-weightbearing after foot or ankle surgery. It requires patience and major adjustments to your lifestyle. Our affordable mobility devices can help you get around and follow your doctor’s orders. And you don’t have to worry about how to get your device because we’ll deliver to anywhere in San Diego or Imperial Counties. If you need help choosing a device, just give us a call. Our friendly at-home medical supply experts can help you find one that meets your needs.