Caring for your incision

Once you’re discharged from the hospital, it’s important that you take proper care of your incision to avoid infection. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Unless your surgeon advises you otherwise, the best thing to do with your incision is to leave it alone.
  • Once your cast is removed, the incision on your lower leg and ankle may be covered with a light, dry dressing until your stitches are removed. (This usually happens between ten and 14 days after surgery and will be done by your family doctor or a visiting nurse.) 
  • If you notice yellow/green drainage, redness, pain, heat or an unpleasant smell around the incision, call your surgeon or family doctor right away. You may have an infection that requires treatment with antibiotics.
  • Be sure to keep your incision dry for the first two weeks. Some people get along taking sponge baths. If you leave the hospital with a dressing, you can still shower, as long as you cover the dressing with a square of plastic that’s kept in place with waterproof tape (available in drug stores). If you aren’t wearing a dressing when you leave the hospital, it’s all right to shower—just be sure to pat the incision dry with a towel.