Surgery is oftentimes highly successful at correcting the underlying issue that is causing problems for your foot or ankle, but it’s just the first step in the road to recovery. The steps you take before and after your surgical operation will set the stage for whether or not you can hit your recovery goals by the end of your rehab. So what can you do to ensure you have the best chance at hitting your recovery goals after foot or ankle surgery? We answer that question and more in today’s blog.
Keys For Hitting Your Rehab Goals After Surgery
If you want to hit your recovery goals after a foot or ankle procedure, it would be wise to keep these tips in mind.
- Set Attainable Goals – While this may sound obvious, if you want to give yourself a fair shot at reaching your goals, you need to ensure they are attainable. Have a conversation with your foot and ankle specialist about a general recovery timeline. You can always work hard to hit recovery checkpoints a little sooner, but don’t set goals that are unattainable. If you tear your ACL, don’t expect to be back on the soccer field in three months. Chase some lofty but realistic goals.
- Prehab – Many people assume that they need to wait until their surgery is complete to start strengthening the area with rehab exercises, but that’s simply not true. We set a number of our patients up with prehabilitation exercises, because the stronger your foot and ankle are prior to your operation, the stronger they will be following your surgery, and that can make it easier for you to hit your recovery goals.
- Always Do Your Exercises – Some foot and ankle operations will require weeks or months of physical therapy, and we know that PT exercises aren’t always the most fun activity. However, if you skip out on your physical therapy sessions, you’re much more likely to see your progress plateau early. Force yourself to attend every in-person PT session, and make sure you do your home-based exercises every day to keep strengthening key areas of your feet and ankles.
- Take It Slow – We know that you want to hit your goals as quickly as possible, but rushing back to activity too soon during your rehab can actually cause a setback. You need to gradually reintroduce yourself to certain activities so that your feet aren’t overloaded with stress while they are in a weakened state. Your overall conditioning may have also taken a hit if you have been away from certain activities for weeks or months, so your whole body would benefit from taking things slow during your rehab and recovery.
- Listen To Your Doctor – Finally, one way to make it easier to hit your rehab goals is to listen to your doctor. We don’t put restrictions in place just to torture you, they are there to ensure you don’t expose your recovering structures to additional stress and injury risk. If you have any questions during your recovery or you want activity clearance, just reach out to your surgeon. We’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have or provide some advice during your recovery, you just need to ask. Your doctor will be a major ally in helping you hit your recovery goals, so don’t be afraid to lean on their expertise.
If you want to connect with a care team that will help you hit your recovery goals in a timely manner, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today at (413) 261-8889.