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  • Writer's pictureDr. Yuksel Yurttas

Can You Run After Leg Lengthening Surgery? Returning to Sports Safely

One of the most frequently asked questions about leg lengthening surgery is whether it is possible to run after the procedure. The answer is yes - once you have fully recovered from leg lengthening surgery, you can engage in all physical activities, including running. In this article, we will discuss the recovery process, potential limitations, and precautions to ensure a safe return to high-impact physical activities such as running.

orthopedic surgeon and femur lengthening x-ray
Post-Surgery X-ray: Femur Lengthening in Progress

Understanding Limb Lengthening Surgery and Recovery

Limb lengthening surgery involves using the body's natural ability to regenerate new bone. The procedure begins with an osteotomy, during which the orthopedic surgeon cuts the bone that needs to be lengthened. The bone is then stabilized with external or internal fixation devices or frames.

The recovery process is divided into two phases. During the first phase, known as the distraction phase, the bone that has been cut is gradually pulled apart to encourage new bone growth at the site of the cut. This is done by opening the gap between the ends of the bone by 0.25 mm four times a day, for a total of 1 mm per day. This promotes the continuous growth of new bone tissue in the gap until the desired length of bone has been achieved.

Once the desired length of bone has been reached, the second phase of recovery begins. This consolidation phase allows the new bone tissue to solidify and become strong enough to withstand the stresses of everyday activities.

Physical Therapy and Gradual Return to Running

After the consolidation phase is complete, the fixation devices or frames can be removed, and the patient can return to their normal level of physical activity. It is typically 6 to 12 months after the surgery, with the doctor's approval, before patients can start performance-requiring physical activities such as running, jumping, and weight-lifting.

Physical therapy is crucial during the recovery period, as it helps patients regain strength, flexibility, and balance, which are necessary for running. Once the healing process is complete and the patient has regained sufficient strength and mobility, they can gradually return to running. It's important to start with low-impact activities such as walking or using an elliptical trainer before transitioning to running. Consult with a physical therapist or an orthopedic surgeon for personalized advice on when and how to resume running safely.

Potential Limitations and Precautions

Although many patients can return to running after leg lengthening surgery, some may experience limitations, such as decreased endurance, reduced speed, or altered gait. It's essential to listen to your body and be patient with the recovery process. In some cases, a patient may require additional physical therapy or surgical intervention to address any issues that arise.

To minimize the risk of injury and complications, it's crucial to follow these recommendations:

  • Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your runs

  • Wear appropriate footwear with ample support and cushioning

  • Practice proper running form and technique

  • Avoid overtraining and allow adequate recovery time between runs

  • Stay in close communication with your healthcare team to address any concerns or issues that arise

By taking the necessary precautions and following a gradual, personalized approach, patients can safely resume running and enjoy the physical and mental benefits of their new height.

Our medical team provides 24/7 support to our patients until they are fully recovered or even able to run at full performance. If you have any questions or need more information, please contact us now for a free consultation. WhatsApp +90 533 973 5289 or E-mail:

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