Does exercise reduce your ability to recover from surgery?
May 25, 2006 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Does exercise reduce your ability to recover from surgery?

I am having surgery next week on my foot. Given that I will be unable to partake in fun activities (basketball, football, etc) for a long time, I'd really like to resume my upper body weight lifting, and soon. Someone told me that I should really do nothing but rest for the first couple of weeks after the surgery. But if I feel up to it, would it hurt anything to do some upper body weightlifting?
posted by b_thinky to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
Get the opinion of your surgeon and perhaps your physical therapist. Anybody else is just guessing.
posted by trinity8-director at 12:21 PM on May 25, 2006

The best people to know are your doctors, since they have the specifics of everything involved and this is what they're trained in. I'm not sure why anonymous netizens would be a better group to ask.
posted by kcm at 12:23 PM on May 25, 2006

Interesting question. If you do ask your doctor, post the answer here please.
posted by dead_ at 12:35 PM on May 25, 2006

FWIW, I just had knee surgery a week ago. My post-op instructions included getting off crutches after a couple days and no mention of avoiding general exercise, just not walking at exercise levels until getting clearance.
posted by trinity8-director at 1:01 PM on May 25, 2006

I am not recommending this but I went running (well, hobbling) 48 hours after a hernia repair--I asked the physician if it would hurt me and he said yes, it will hurt but it it will not hurt you. I also bicycled from Ohio to NY state approximately 8 weeks after having a lumbar laminectomy. The orthopod said--its up to you, it will not hurt your back as biking has the right geometry for post back surgery. However, when I did have the surgery I was scrupulous about following physician orders and rehab for the first two weeks. Discuss it with you physician.
posted by rmhsinc at 2:09 PM on May 25, 2006

IANAD, but I had major surgery last year, and my sis is a surgical rehab therapist. My first suggestion is to ask your doctor or rehab therapist. My second answer is give the incision time to heal before you start raising your blood pressure/heart rate. Even if you're not putting any direct pressure on the foot, any exercise will put added pressure on the incision, and can slow down the healing.
posted by jlkr at 2:35 PM on May 25, 2006

A colloeague recently (before Christmas) had a major op on his ankle, with a long projected recovery time.
He's an avid biker, and set himself up on a stationary bike indoors, and cycled whilst watching TV/films...

He had trouble walking for a while due to the jarring when stepping, but the bike used different muscles so no pain - and he healed in just under half the time that the doctors were expecting.

It probably all depends on what kind of exercises you'll be able to do, and whether you can keep the operated-upon area flexible without causing further damage...
posted by Chunder at 5:29 AM on May 26, 2006

I wish I had the cite, unfortunately don't, but somewhere recently I read that exercise in fact enhanced your recovery from surgery. Said that the traditional bed-rest following an operation was counter-productive, the best thing was to get back in action ASAP -- this forced the body to heal, and reduced the atrophy extended bed-rest caused in unaffected areas.

This was defintely my experience following my recent broken leg -- I returned to the gym as soon as it was feasible, still with my crutches, but doing whatever upper-body stuff I could manage. My orthopedist was encouraging, also -- said to just listen to your body, if it hurts, stop immediately; otherwise, go for it.
posted by Rash at 9:39 AM on May 26, 2006

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