As with any surgical procedure, orthopedic surgery comes with a recovery period afterward. All operations require some form of tissue trauma, and musculoskeletal surgery involves cutting skin, muscle, tendon, ligament, and/or bone tissues – so these must heal before you regain your motion and strength in the area.
It therefore takes significant time for your body to be able to handle intense physical activity or exercise after orthopedic surgery. However, following these guidelines should help you return to your pre-surgery lifestyle as quickly as possible.
Physical Therapy After an Orthopedic Operation
After your surgery, you can expect to work for weeks or even months with a physical therapist, who will slowly guide you in regaining your lost strength and mobility. You may be surprised at how soon after the surgery that you will begin these exercises, but the medical profession has learned that patients who lie down for too long after an operation will experience atrophy quickly – so activity will begin very soon, albeit mild activity.
Physical therapy is the key for you to eventually return to your normal activity levels. The main goal of physical therapy exercises is to gradually strengthen the damaged tissue around the surgical site, and this may even include the therapist performing all of the motions themselves by moving your joints manually. If the surgery was extensive, the body must re-learn how to move.
Adding Exercises Gradually
A common mistake for people who have had orthopedic surgery is to rush through rehabilitation. They may feel that they can handle more stringent activities, so they proceed beyond their current capabilities.
However, this can lead to another injury, and it may even undo what was done in the surgery. Perform the therapy exercises your physical therapist shows you, and don’t push your limits beyond these until the therapist says you’re ready. The exercises may seem silly or “soft” at first, but they will grow in duration and complexity until you’re healed. Be patient with yourself.
As a general rule, the first few months after major surgery is not the time to test your limits. Instead of fixating on your temporary weakness, focus on rest and recuperation so that you can give your body time to become strong again.
Adding Variety to Your Exercises
During the early parts of your recovery, you may only be able to perform basic stretches. However, you will be able to engage in more exercises as your strength, flexibility, and range-of-motion increase. Your physical therapist will show you how to perform a variety of movements as you get stronger.
Diversification of movements can also prevent overexertion, which can happen to specific muscle groups if you stick to a single exercise. Varying your activities will help to make your exercise sessions more exciting and fun.
Quality Orthopedic Healthcare in Maryland
Physical rehabilitation plays a crucial role in returning your body to top shape after musculoskeletal surgery. Through professionally guided gradual progression of activity and exercise variety, you will be able to optimize your healing time.
Our orthopedic medical team at the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland serve clients in several convenient locations across Maryland. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today by calling (410) 644-1880 or (855) 4MD-BONE (463-2663), or request an appointment via our online form now. We look forward to helping you get back to the lifestyle you love!