Having a shower

If you are at all unsteady or anxious, you should have someone with you to help you get in and out of the shower stall or bathtub safely. Most people find that a shower stall is more accessible after surgery, since you only have to step forward rather than getting over the side of a bathtub.

ImportantIMPORTANT: You may be tempted to wash standing on one foot. This may not be a good idea, especially in the first week or two after surgery. It also places extra stress on your unoperated leg and ankle.

Here are some general tips:

  • Keep your ankle precautions in mind at all times.
  • DO NOT step into or out of the shower stall or tub onto a scatter rug or towel. If you want a soft surface, tape a non-skid bath mat securely to the bathroom floor beside the tub.
  • Until you feel steady on your feet, use a shower bench or seat which rests on a rubber mat or non-skid adhesive on the bottom of the tub or stall.
  • A long-handled sponge or hand-held shower hose can be used to wash your lower legs and feet. 
  • If you will be using any grab bars beside the tub or on the wall, make sure they have been properly installed and can support your weight.  

Getting into the shower

  • Place the shower chair in the tub or stall facing the faucets.
  • Reach back for the back of the shower chair with one hand. Your other hand will stay on your cane or walker.
  • Carefully lower yourself on the shower seat. Turn to face the faucets and lift your operated leg over the lip of the shower, followed by your unoperated leg. Keep your operated leg out straight.

Getting out of the shower

  • Turn around on the seat and bring your legs out of the shower, starting with your unoperated leg, followed by your operated leg.
  • Push yourself up and off the back of the shower chair with one hand. The other hand should be resting on your cane or walker.
  • Stand up outside the shower. Be sure that you have regained your balance before moving again.