Post-Op Shoes – Giving the Right Information to Patients

Post-op shoes are one of those small inventions that provide big benefits to patients. Used to protect feet and toes after a medical procedure or an injury, they help to relieve pain and also provide the right kind of support to encourage the healing process. Manufactured in a range of styles, they are mostly designed with a flat hard sole, fabric or mesh sides, and adjustable straps to provide maximum comfort. Additionally, they alter the stress points on the feet, changing the way in which the foot carries weight.

However, despite their simple design and almost fool proof operation, there is still the opportunity for patients to use them incorrectly, causing further damage or antagonising the injury. When patients come to you for advice regarding the purpose of post-op shoe and how best to use this piece of equipment, it is important that correct information is provided. Here, we take a look at what patients need to know before, during, and after the healing process.

 How to Put on a Post-Op Shoe

When advising a patient of how to put on a post-op shoe, it is important to go through the process slowly and methodically. Ensure they are seated and, particularly with older patients with decreased mobility, that they can see you demonstrate the correct procedure. 

  • Seat the patient and guide the foot into the shoe. Check that the patient is comfortable, and the post-op shoe is the correct fit. Take extra care when using boot-type shoes.
  • Close the fabric or mesh sides over the top of the foot. If it is a boot-type shoe, wrap the ankle too and check that no clothing is caught between the sides and the foot.
  • Tighten the straps. Ask if the shoe is comfortable for the patient. Remember, the shoe should limit movement but never cut off the blood supply. It is critical that the patient is made aware of this.
  • Once the post-op shoe is secured, stand the patient up and ask them to take a few steps to practice walking. Again, double check the patient is comfortable and, if necessary, readjust the shoe.

 Post-Op Shoe Advice for the Patient

 Providing the right information to the patient to manage and maintain comfort when they have left the clinic or hospital is very important. If the patient does not have access to the right information, it may inhibit the healing process or cause further injury to the foot or leg. Ensure the patient is aware of the following:

  • Make the patient aware that they will need to check feet and toes often. Advise them that any redness or swelling may be caused by straps that are too tight, and that the straps should be loosened. Also make the patient aware that once the swelling from the injury has reduced, the straps may need to be tightened to ensure a secure fit.
  • If the patient is allowed to remove the post-op shoe, then ask them to demonstrate the procedure above to ascertain whether they can refit the shoe properly
  • If the patient is not allowed to remove the post-op shoe, ensure they are made aware that the area should be kept dry during bathing or showering. A plastic bag wrapped around the area is usually sufficient.
  • Advise the patient to be wary when walking over wet surfaces or other hazards as the post-op shoe will not provide the same kind of grip as a normal shoe.
  • Advise the patient to consult a doctor if pain or discomfort increases, if they cannot get the shoe on correctly, or they have any concerns about their condition.

Finally, when the patient has fully recovered and the shoe can be removed permanently, ensure that they approach the first few weeks with extra care when walking. Readjusting balance and control may take some time after the injury is healed. Additionally, the post-op shoe will have altered the patient's gait if worn for significant amounts of time, advise the patient that readjusting may be a slow process. 

Here at Medshop, we stock a selection of post-op shoes alongside a broad range of medical supplies that are perfect for both students and experienced nurses. Browse the website to discover everything you need for your day-to-day tasks or stay tuned to the Medshop blog for all the latest news and healthcare insights.

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