Infection is possible after any surgery and this occurs in some form in at least three to five of each hundred foot and ankle surgeries. Whilst infection is usually treatable with antibiotics, it can be very severe, causing the surgical wound to break down. Sometimes this means you can need a further operation to wash out the wound. If the wound does not improve you might need to have plastic surgery to close your skin. In rare cases if an infection cannot be controlled, you might need an amputation of your leg. In the worst case scenario you could even die from a severe infection.
You are at higher risk of infection if you smoke, are diabetic, are malnourished or take steroids. Longer surgeries exceeding two hours also carry a greater risk of infection. For surgeries where you are having any device implanted (such as wires, plates and screws, speedbridge, internal brace or any implant such as an ankle replacement) you will normally be given a dose of an appropriate antibiotic at the time of surgery to help reduce the chance of an infection.