Nobody wants to have any body part amputated, but sometimes amputation is the only solution to avoid a more serious problem such as infection or cancer. Toe amputation is a relatively simple procedure that carries minimal risk. The surgery usually lasts no more than 30 minutes and typically does not require sedation. Recovering from toe amputation is relatively uncomplicated, and you can be back on your feet in a few weeks. There are, however, certain things to be mindful of when recovering from toe amputation.
The hospital stay for toe amputation surgery is generally two to seven days. Your foot will be kept elevated after surgery, and the amputation site will be covered in a surgical dressing. It is advised that you get up and moving as soon as you can once surgery is completed. Your doctor likely will prescribe some form of pain medication for the first few days or week after surgery. Limit the amount of walking you do in the first two days after amputation. While in the hospital, a nurse will assist you in walking until you are able to do it on your own.
You should not drive for two to three weeks after surgery. Walk only when necessary, such as using the restroom, and avoid walking outside. The stitches likely will be removed within three weeks of the surgery.
Once the stitches are taken out, you can wear your normal footwear. You should also use a training shoe for at least two months before the operation to assist the area in healing. Massage the amputation site with a mild lotion to help reduce scar sensitivity. Your doctor might recommend a physical therapy or exercise program post-operatively to better assist you in recovery.
When to Call the Doctor
Complications after a toe amputation are rare but not unheard of. Upon returning home, call your doctor if you notice any symptoms of infection such as chills or fever, urination problems or pain, or suffer from a cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, vomiting or nausea.
If you notice the foot, leg or toes are chalky white or blackish, if sensation is decreased in the foot, toes or leg, or if you experience tingling or numbness in these parts, contact your doctor. Finally, call your doctor if warmth, swelling, excessive bleeding, redness, discharge or increased tenderness is noted at the site of amputation.