While recovering from orthopedic surgery, resting the area is vital in order to enable healing – but it’s equally important to keep the body moving. Regular exercise promotes blood flow to the injured site, prevents the muscles from getting stiff, and also prevents atrophy due to nonuse. As part of your rehabilitation, your medical team will develop an exercise plan.
Let’s talk about some of the key types of exercises that your physical therapist will teach you as you recover from orthopedic surgery, and where anyone in your family can go here in St. Charles County to receive outstanding orthopedic treatment.
Exercises for the Hips and Knees After Orthopedic Surgery
Most post-op rehabilitation programs start with mild stretching exercises. If you or your child had hip surgery or knee surgery, your physical therapist (PT) will demonstrate gentle exercises to keep the joint moving.
As you progressively get stronger and steadier in the operated joint, they may add strength, flexibility, and balance exercises. These focus on the quadriceps (thigh muscles), gluteals (buttocks muscles), and hip abductors.
The most common therapy exercises for the knees and hips include:
- Knee-to-chest stretch (while lying down)
- Single-leg stance and raising one leg
- Single-leg stance with raising the knee upward
- Single-leg stance with bending the knee and lifting the lower leg backward
Post-Op Shoulder and Elbow Exercises
The exercises you will learn after having shoulder surgery or elbow surgery will focus on increasing strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the joint.
Here are some exercises you may expect:
- Bending and straightening of the elbows
- Slow, careful joint rotations
- Handgrip exercises
- Flexion stretch (applying gentle pressure to engage the muscle)
Physical Therapy Hand and Wrist Exercises
Exercises after having hand surgery or wrist surgery usually involve a combination of range-of-motion and nerve-gliding exercises and stretches. To make it fun and interesting for both adults and children, the physical therapist may use therapy putty, which is a moldable exercise tool to strengthen the hands and fingers. This colorful malleable material is excellent for practicing gripping and manipulating.
Hand and wrist exercises you may learn include:
- Wrist range of motion
- Wrist flexion and extension
- Fist to fan
- Spider doing pushups (especially fun doing this on a mirror)
Foot and Ankle Physical Therapy After Orthopedic Surgery
After foot surgery or ankle surgery, you may need to keep your foot immobilized for a while. Your doctor may apply a cast or a brace to promote healing.
Even while the area is immobilized, your physical therapist will show you how to perform easy exercises that will help you maintain strength in your lower limbs. They will likely focus on building muscle tone and flexibility.
You can do some of these exercises while lying down or sitting:
- Toe raise, point, and curl
- Heel slides
- Straight-leg raises
- Plantar (foot) flexion and extension
- Achilles stretch
Orthopedic Surgery Recovery in O’Fallon and St. Peters, MO
Here at Advanced Bone & Joint, our board-certified orthopedic doctors will take good care of you during all phases of evaluation and treatment, including surgery and recovery. We also take a strongly preventive approach, helping you to avoid musculoskeletal injury as much as possible by implementing various simple techniques.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment for yourself or for anyone in your family, call us today at (636) 229-4222 or fill out our appointment request form online. We have convenient locations in St. Peters and O’Fallon, and we look forward to helping you stay fit and healthy for life!