I will assume you mean swelling within the tissues and not liquid draining from the wound. If you do have drainage, see your surgeon immediately as you may have an infection.
Swelling, however, is very common and is part of the healing process. The further you get from the heart
, the harder it is to get the swelling to go away. When an injury or surgery occurs, there is damage to the small lymph channels that carry excess fluid back to the heart. Lymph circulation is separate from blood circulation and the vessels are much more delicate.
Excessive, prolonged swelling can be a sign of a low-grade infection. Your surgeon will be following your progress. If it seems to be abnormally swollen or painful, he/she may order more tests. Also, an increase in swelling above the ankle over a short period of time can be from a clot, which can break off and cause a blockage of bloodflow to the lungs (pulmonary embolus
). That is what happened to serena williams after her foot surgery
The swelling should go down with elevation
and ice. Depending on your stage of healing, your surgeon may also recommend anti-inflammatories (there is split evidence--some say they help healing, others say they slow it down). With physical therapy
, often the foot is below the heart for a period of time, making the swelling worse. Motion can "pump" fluid into or out of the tissues.
Another helpful thing is "lymph massage
." it seems silly, but it involves stroking the skin very lightly starting at the toes and working around the foot up to the ankle, leg, and knee. This gentle motion moves lymph through the small channels and helps restore the damaged ones. Any significant pressure closes the lymph vessels and defeats the purpose.
In cases of severe, persistent swelling with no other cause, compression
stockings may be helpful.