Post-Operative Care

Things you need to know following your surgery

General Information

Once you are discharged from hospital it is important to maintain good pain relief and ensure you adhere to the instructions given regarding your mobility and rehabilitation.

The following information is general. If your procedure has specific requirements for rehabilitation, then this will be discussed with you prior to your discharge.

  1. Pain Relief
  2. Things to watch out for
  3. Wound care
  4. Cast care
  5. Follow up appointments

Please contact our rooms by phone or email at any time should you have questions about your surgery.

Post-Operative Instructions

This information is general. Your individual needs will be discussed with you, after your surgery has been performed. Please feel free to clarify any questions you may have with Dr Maine.


  • Casts or backslabs are either made of plaster or fibreglass. If you are in a plaster backslab, this is only a temporary method of immobilisation and it is fragile and should be looked after carefully. Fibreglass is much more sturdy and you do not have to be worried about it losing integrity.
  • Please keep your cast dry and clean. You will need to wrap it in a plastic bag for baths unless it is has a waterproof lining material. Chemists do sell protective cast bags if you are concerned.
  • It is important to elevate the affected limb to prevent excessive swelling for at least 2 days post surgery. This may be in a sling or on pillows if lying down. It must be above the level of your heart to be effective.
  • Unless told otherwise, do NOT put weight through any cast on the lower leg.


  • You may de-bulk the outer dressings (if there is a bandage) by taking off the wool and crepe bandages at 2 days post op. You should be given some waterproof dressings at the time of your discharge that can be placed over the wounds to keep them clean. You are able to shower with these in place and gently pat them dry.
  • Unless specifically told otherwise, you will have an absorbable stitch used to close the wound which does NOT need to be removed.
  • It is possible that the ends of this stitch are visible and hang outside the skin at each end of the wound. Do not pull at these, they can be cut back at the same level as your skin by your GP or when reviewed at your post op appointment.
  • Do not get into a pool until two weeks after your surgery.


  • You may require crutches or upper limb immobilization such as a sling. Please ensure you understand the instructions given to youfollowing surgery.
  • Non-weight bearing is no weight at all through your affected leg. You are able to TOUCH the foot to the ground for balance only.
  • Partial weight bearing is usually up to 50% of your body weight.
  • Full weight bearing can be with or without crutches for balance and support.


For the first two weeks until formal physical therapy, you should do the exercises advised by Dr Maine:

  • Please ensure you have an appointment booked at the 2 week mark post surgery.
  • This timeframe is usually used to allow the pain and swelling of surgery to settle. If movement is allowed, it should be within the limits of your comfort having taken adequate pain relief. No weight lifting or water therapy during first two weeks.
  • If an exercise is very painful, stop doing it or do it within the limits of motion that is not painful.
  • Major therapy gains are not achieved during the first two weeks. This is mainly a recuperative period.


  • You will be able to take standard pain killers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen unless you have contraindications to these drugs or are advised otherwise by Dr Maine. It is important to take these pain killers routinely in the immediate post operative period, as they provide a good level of base line pain relief upon which the stronger pain killers can work – if they are required.
  • You may be prescribed additional stronger pain killers such as opioids (narcotics) if it is anticipated your pain may be severe post operatively.
  • Use the medicine as prescribed and do not drive, drink alcohol, or perform duties that require concentration (i.e. school or work) while on narcotic medication.
  • It is important to combine medication with rest and elevation.


After surgery, there is a variable amount of pain and swelling, often depending on how much surgery was done. This usually diminishes after several days. It is helpful to keep the leg or arm elevated above your heart and to apply ice regularly.


Signs and symptoms to report:

  • persistent fever
  • sudden increase in pain or swelling
  • wound redness, drainage, or increased skin temperature around the incision
  • increasing numbness
  • deep calf pain and/or swelling
  • shortness of breath


Who to call: If you have any problems please call Dr Maine’s rooms on (07) 3177 2779

If you have concerns after hours or feel that your case warrants an emergency, please visit your nearest hospital emergency department.


DOWNLOAD the Post-Operative Instructions Info Sheet PDF

Contact us

Phone: (07) 3177 2779
Fax: (07) 3188 7649