If you’ve been sidelined from an injury you’re probably wondering how soon you can get back to your normal exercise routine after orthopedic surgery. But to take a cue from Bogart in Casablanca, “Not so fast, Louis.”
Post Orthopedic Surgery Dos and Don’ts Before Starting Sports and Workouts Again
There are a few common-sense guidelines for restarting your fitness routine after surgery.
DO any strengthening exercises your therapist recommends. There is an art and science to physical therapy. All your exercises are designed to get you back to your optimal fitness quickly. And most importantly, without causing pain or re-injury.
DON’T substitute sports for physical therapy exercises. Although exercise is important to any recovery process, high-impact sports can put extra stress on joints. Make smart decisions so you don’t end up in pain again.
DO other types of cross-fitness exercise to work different parts of your body. For example, if you’re healing from a rotator cuff injury, try hiking or another low-impact exercise. But be smart about starting anything new. Contact sports like football, soccer and baseball can be hard on the joints. And tennis, jogging and skiing can cause injury if you’re not careful. It’s OK to exercise, but use caution.
DO give your body time to heal. It will take time to regain your strength and speed so you’ll need to start slow. Instead of running that 5K, walk a few miles and build up your strength. Add speed and distance as you feel stronger. And whatever you do, don’t forget to warm up, cool down and stretch for at least 3-5 minutes.
DON’T continue if you are in pain. Slight pain while exercising is fine but learning when to stop will keep you from another injury. If pain lasts longer than an hour after you exercise, that’s a sign that you’ve overdone it. Take it easy, rest a few days and try again.
DON’T make the same mistake twice. Did your injury happen because you were pushing yourself too hard or forgot your safety gear? If so, acknowledge and remedy the problem.
And For the Biggest DO for Knowing When to Start Fitness Post Surgery
DO talk to your doctor or physical therapist for a final go-ahead. In order to get you back to your normal activity level, they’ll want to make sure your pain, swelling and stiffness have improved. Each patient and each injury is unique. And that’s where the expertise of the doctors at Puget Sound Orthopaedics is invaluable. We are dedicated to improving your life through expert, individualized, and compassionate attention during every step of your healing process.