Had foot or ankle surgery recently? There’s nothing worse than not being able to walk or partake in your favourite physical activities while you recover. The good news is that you can minimise recovery time with some light activities that are good for joints and muscles.
Yoga and Pilates
Activities like Yoga and Pilates are considered great for muscle strength and stability. They use stretching and positioning to improve circulation within muscles and increase overall flexibility. These are highly sought-after benefits for people that have recently had foot surgery.
The great thing about Yoga and Pilates is that they can be done gradually. You don’t need to perform a movement to its full extent to benefit from it. You can instead take your time and limit movements to a level that keeps you comfortable. Surgery is incredibly stressful for joints and muscles, so it helps to take things step by step. With these activities, you don’t have to overexert yourself and risk a sports reinjury.
Toning and stretching
Toning and stretching are another great pair of activities worth doing after foot surgery. Stretching is good for joints and muscles in general, especially when it comes to recovery. Flexing or toning muscles minimises the chance of reinjury as it doesn’t necessarily involve movement. Both activities can be improved on incredibly slowly if needed. Stretching out feet or drawing small circles with toes is a good place to start, but even toning foot muscles is enough to make progress.
As you recover, you can start intensifying your stretches and flexes to match the needs of your foot muscles. You’ll notice when certain stretches stop being painful, so you’ll have a good idea of the movement capability of your feet in general. With proper stretching, you’ll be able to facilitate recovery and speed up the process significantly.
Recovering from foot surgery can take a while, and actively trying to maintain non-strenuous exercises can be challenging. However, an activity like swimming makes it significantly easier. It’s considered the perfect sport for sports injury and surgery recovery because it allows you to limit yourself and improve intuitively.
Staying afloat in the water may be challenging at first, but you don’t have to use your feet at all. Floaties and arm movements help keep the strain to a minimum, and any improvements you make will feel natural.
It’s worth noting that swimming should only begin after stitches are removed. Before this point, it’s recommended that you stick to other activities, like stretching and light Yoga.
Exercise bike riding
Many Australians have a tough time getting back to biking after foot surgery. It’s nearly impossible to maintain this exercise during recovery with a regular bike, especially if the surgery was particularly intense.
The good news is that exercise bikes are the perfect temporary solution. They allow you to practice the movements with relative ease in the comfort of your home. Many of NSW’s podiatrists recommend that patients take up exercise bike riding during recovery, as it requires minimal foot movement but still stimulates muscles and joints. This improves stability significantly and facilitates recovery.
However, whether or not you can use a home exercise bike depends on its pedals and foot straps, as well as the general state of your recovery. If you have flat feet or general pain in that area, you should first book a Fairfield podiatry appointment and consult a podiatrist. They can help you figure out if this exercise would be optimal for a particular stage of recovery.
Keeping your feet up is a great way to stimulate healthy muscle and joint recovery. Blood tends to follow gravity and pressure our legs and feet whenever we’re standing or sitting down. When injured, our feet tend to swell up if this pressure is maintained, and that swelling slows down recovery speed significantly.
Remember to keep your feet elevated as much as possible. This can be covered during Pilates and Yoga, but you can just keep your feet at a certain height while you read a book as well. Ice packs can also be a blessing if you have swelling. The quicker you reduce swelling, the quicker you can participate in other physical activities to improve recovery.
There are a wide variety of exercises you can try for foot surgery recovery. Each of them has its benefits and downsides, but they can all help make your recovery as smooth as possible.