Redressing your foot after surgery

This information explains how to redress your foot after having nail surgery or a small procedure on your foot.

Your podiatrist will redress your foot the first time. After this they will show you how to do it yourself. You will need to buy some 6cm x 7cm, individually-wrapped, sterile dressings, such as Softpore®, Mepore® or Cosmopor®, from your local pharmacy. Ask your podiatrist if you’re not sure how many to buy.

Redressing your foot

When you redress your foot, please follow these steps to keep your wound clean.

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Take off the dressing on your foot.
  3. Open the new dressing without touching the centre of the dressing (the cushioned area).
  4. Put the dressing on your foot.
  5. If you’re redressing a toe, you can cut 2 small lines either side of the cushioned area to allow the dressing to wrap around your toe.
  6. Redress your foot every 1 to 2 days.


  • keep your wound clean and dry
  • keep your wound covered with a dressing
  • replace the dressing if it gets wet or dirty
  • cover your foot when washing, to keep it dry

Your podiatrist might tell you to clean your wound with salt water (salt water bathing). However, not everyone will need to do this. Check with your podiatrist if you’re unsure.

When your wound has fully healed or has scabbed over and there is no liquid (discharge), you can stop redressing it.

What to expect

Everyone is different, but you would normally expect your wound to heal around these times:

  • Verruca needling, 2 to 5 days
  • Minor skin surgery, 2 to 4 weeks
  • Nail surgery with phenol, 4 to 6 weeks 

It’s normal for your toe or foot to be painful for 1 to 2 days after the procedure. Depending on the procedure you have, your wound might be red and warm (inflamed) for 1 to 2 weeks. There might also be light-yellow coloured liquid (discharge) coming out of your wound while it’s healing. 

Returning to normal activities

You can go back to work and normal activities when you feel ready. You can wear your normal shoes after your redressing appointment. We recommend you that you avoid wearing shoes that put pressure on your wound, such as high heels.

Until your wound is healed, we recommend avoiding:

  • high impact exercise, such as running or football
  • exercise that makes you sweat
  • swimming

Exercise that makes you sweat will increase the chance of your wound getting infected. Change your dressing if you get it wet.

Go to an emergency foot clinic if:

  • your wound is still red and hot after 2 weeks
  • your discharge is brown or green
  • there is a lot of blood on your dressing
  • your wound is throbbing or burning a week or more after surgery
  • you’re worried about your wound

Useful information

The Royal College of Podiatry have information on foot conditions and procedures.

Resource number: 4886/VER2
Last reviewed: May 2023
Next review due: May 2026

Trusted Information Creator. Patient Information Forum

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the community podiatry team:

Phone 020 3049 7900, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

If you need emergency help outside of these hours please contact your nearest emergency department (A&E).

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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