Many people aren’t accustomed to the limited mobility that accompanies a knee or ankle operation, and they look for ways to speed up their recovery process. Sometimes people actually create more problems for themselves by putting too much strain on the injury in the immediate days following an operation. We created a list of ways to ensure you get off on the right foot when it comes to rehabbing your injury post-op.
8 Steps to Recovery
- Follow the doctor’s orders– It may seem like a no-brainer, but it is very important to follow your doctor’s instructions about how to care for your injury post-op. Doctors usually recommend long periods of elevation immediately after an operation, as it reduces swelling and limits the amount of weight placed on the foot, which is in its weakest state right after the operation.
- Change your dressing– Change your dressing according to your doctor’s orders or if the bandage becomes damp or wet. Keeping your dressing dry will aide in tissue recovery and limit the likelihood of infection.
- Rest– Rest plays a crucial role in the recovery process. Not only are you limiting the strain on your foot while you’re resting, but sleep is a restorative process that gives the body time to heal. Do not underestimate the power of sleep following an operation.
- Eat healthy– Just because you’re off your feet doesn’t mean you should feast on ice cream and potato chips. You won’t be able to burn off as many calories in the weeks after surgery, so proper nutrition can go a long way in providing your recovering body with all the essential vitamins and minerals.
- Limit weight bearing– Depending on your surgery, you may be required to keep weight off your foot for days or even weeks. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding weight bearing, but also consider using a cane or walker to help keep pressure off your injured foot.
- Follow physical therapy instructions– Your foot or ankle will be in a weakened state after surgery, so you’ll need to work to rebuild strength. Once your doctor says you are able to bear weight, begin physical therapy exercises. We created some exercise videos that you can do in your spare time to aid in your rehabilitation.
- Be aware of warning signs– Some people experience complications following surgery, so it’s important to understand the warning signs so you can prevent a small problem from becoming a larger one. If you notice redness, increased swelling, stiffness, chills or persistent pain, contact your doctor immediately.
- Focus on mental health– Many active people have a tough time dealing with their limited mobility following a major operation. Sometimes people become frustrated and mentality fatigued when they can’t actively participate in their daily routine. Take time to relax and mentally challenge yourself post-op. Whether through meditation or crossword puzzles, mental health is just as important as physical health when it comes to recovering from surgery.
Related source: eHow.com
Lance Silverman, MD
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