Stitches are a surgeon’s best friend. They’re one of the final steps of a successful surgery and the key to fast and proper healing.
But we know it can be tough to imagine that caring for stitches that crisscross your feet or tucked in between your toes isn’t a burden to your daily routine.
The good news is that keeping your stitches in check and your feet on the fast track to a complete comeback doesn't take much. In this blog, our team of experienced surgeons at Optima Foot and Ankle in Bend, Oregon, gives you some inside information on managing stitches in your feet.
Keep them dry
Wet stitches are a recipe for infection. Take great care to keep your stitches dry for the first 24-48 hours following your procedure. You can use waterproof dressings, cling wrap, or a plastic bag in a pinch.
Make sure you’ve covered the entire area before you hop in the shower, and gently pat the stitches dry with a soft, clean cloth to avoid pulling them out.
Also avoid all water activities until we remove your stitches.
Keep the area clean
Keep the entire area surrounding your stitches clean at all times. We recommend washing your feet at least once a day. Clean your hands before starting, and then gently clean your feet with a damp cloth. Avoid soaking your stitches, and completely dry them afterward.
Replace any bandages or dressing for as long as our team has recommended to ensure your stitches stay protected when they're most vulnerable.
Keep an eye out for infection
Ignoring the warning signs of infection is a sure way to lengthen your recovery time. A budding infection will trigger symptoms like:
None of the signs should go unchecked, even if they seem minor. Call our office to see your provider as soon as possible.
Keep your hands off
Stitches can get itchy and start to feel uncomfortable, but it’s crucial that you don’t scratch, pick, or otherwise disturb them. You could reopen the wound, loosen or pull out your stitches, and encourage infection — all which can restart recovery.
Try your best to distract yourself and keep your mind off of them. Over-the-counter pain medication can help manage mild symptoms if you need relief.
Keep the weight off
The skin and tissues held together by your stitches are delicate during recovery; any extra stress from bearing weight can pull the stitches open and expose your wound. Kick your feet up as often as possible until we remove the stitches.
Keep us in the loop
Be sure to report any changes to your stitches and the wound, especially if there’s bleeding that you can’t control with direct pressure. All signs of infection are cause for concern and warrant a trip to our office as soon as possible.
You never have to manage your post-procedure recovery alone. From start to finish, we work with you and give you detailed instructions on caring for your stitches. If you have any questions or need to have your stitches evaluated, don’t hesitate to call our friendly staff or schedule an appointment online at our Bend or Redmond, Oregon, offices.