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  • Writer's pictureDr. Yuksel Yurttas

Exercise and Physical Activity After Limb Lengthening Surgery: Do's and Don'ts

Taking a brave step with limb lengthening surgery to reach the height you've always wanted is just the beginning. The real success of this surgery isn't only in the operation. It's also in the time after - days, weeks, and months of recovery. What makes a big difference is how you handle the recovery, especially with physiotherapy and exercises. This journey goes beyond just growing taller. It's about exploring what your body is truly capable of, and how resilient you are. In this blog post, you'll discover insights gathered from years of experience with hundreds of leg-lengthening patients, guiding you through what exercises to do, what to avoid, and physical activities that are key for a smooth recovery.


Why Physical Activity Matters After Your Surgery

After your surgery, stepping into a routine of physical activity isn't just a recommendation - it's a cornerstone of your recovery. By actively participating in recommended exercises, you contribute to:

  • Enhancing joint movement

  • Strengthening your muscles

  • Boosting your endurance levels

  • Improving blood flow

  • Minimizing inflammation

  • Speeding up bone healing


femur lengthening patient
Dr.Yurttas assesing flexibility of a patient

Tailoring Your Physiotherapy, Exercise, and Physical Activity Routine

After your surgery, the surgeon and physiotherapy team will work together to create a program that's just right for you. They'll consider the specific surgical method used, like LON or Precice 2, and the operated bone segment, be it the femur or tibia. They'll also take into account your condition and how you're progressing in recovery. Remember, a lot of discomfort can be avoided by sticking to these postoperative guidelines. So, you must follow this tailored routine to prevent complications and get the most benefit from your procedure.


Do's: Recommended Exercises and Physical Activities to Perform

Range of Motion Exercises

These exercises are key in keeping your joints flexible and preventing stiffness. Engaging in gentle movements of the affected limb, such as bending and straightening, not only aids in maintaining flexibility but also helps in gradually reintroducing your limbs to regular movement.


Stretching

Incorporating stretching exercises is crucial for enhancing flexibility and preventing muscle tightness. Focus on gentle, controlled stretches targeting the muscles around the lengthened leg. These stretches aid in easing muscle tension and contribute to a smoother recovery.


Leg stretching
Exercise and physical activity improve mobility, strength, and bone healing in leg lengthening recovery.

Strengthening Exercises

Building muscle mass to support the affected limb is essential. Begin with isometric exercises where you contract the muscle without moving the joint. These exercises lay a foundation for strength, preparing your muscles for more dynamic exercises as your therapist advises.


Low-Impact Aerobic Activities

Engaging in low-impact aerobic activities like walking, cycling, or swimming is excellent for your cardiovascular health. These activities boost your heart fitness without imposing too much stress on your healing bones. They are a great way to reintroduce your body to regular physical activity while respecting its current limits.


Social Activities

Socializing and engaging in your favorite activities are just as important as physical exercises. These social interactions help in easing pain and stress. They also bring positive vibes and a sense of normalcy to your recovery journey. Staying connected with friends and family or pursuing hobbies can significantly uplift your spirits and contribute to overall well-being.


Don'ts: Exercises and Activities to Avoid

Following your surgery, it's important to avoid certain exercises and activities until you have fully recovered. These recommendations are based on numerous experiences of past patients. So, we advise you to exercise caution for your own well-being.


High-Impact Activities

Activities like running, jumping, or engaging in contact sports should be avoided. These can harm the healing bone and potentially delay your recovery process. Even if you feel better, giving your body the time it needs to heal is important.


Heavy Weightlifting

Lifting heavy weights, particularly with the limb that underwent surgery, is not recommended. This might put too much pressure on the bone and the structures around it. You can continue most upper-body workouts during your lengthening and recovery. But for lower body exercises, a gradual approach is needed. As your bones heal, and regular x-rays track your progress, your physiotherapist will guide you on when and how to safely reintroduce these exercises.


pain after leg lengthening surgery
Avoid high-impact exercises, heavy lifting, and overstretching until you've fully recovered.

Overstretching

Be careful not to overstretch as it can lead to injuries and slow down your recovery. Stretch within a range that feels comfortable and avoid pushing your body too far.


Always Stay Alert

One week after surgery, you'll likely start moving independently. In the weeks that follow, there might be times when you feel almost normal, especially during the extension phase. However, it's important to stay vigilant with every step you take until your recovery is complete. Even if you're not in pain and everything seems fine, your safety and comfort should always come first.


Tips for a Safe and Smooth Recovery

Gradual Progression

Remember, your body heals at its own pace. Follow the exercise program as prescribed and start with lighter activities. As you feel stronger and get the nod from your surgeon or therapist, gradually increase the intensity and duration of your exercises.


Listening to Your Body

Your body will give you signals during exercise. Experiencing pain, discomfort, or extreme tiredness means it's time to pause and get in touch with your surgeon.


Eating Well & Sleeping Well

Prof Yurttas often emphasizes the importance of good sleep and nutrition. Combine these with your physiotherapy, exercises, balanced activity, and rest. With your determination and our team's expertise, reaching your new height can be a smooth journey.


Regular Check-ins with Your Physical Therapist

A physical therapist is vital in guiding you through correct exercise techniques and helping set achievable goals. They're also there to track your progress, ensuring a safe and effective recovery.


FAQs

  1. How soon can I start exercising after surgery? You'll take your first steps and start exercises 3-4 days after your surgery. During the lengthening process, you'll follow a physiotherapy and exercise program as part of your treatment plan. You may be able to walk and meet your daily needs with some limitations until the desired lengthening amount is achieved. After this process ends, you'll enter the bone consolidation phase, where your newly formed bones harden and become as strong as your existing bones. During this time, you'll gradually return to your everyday activities. In general, patients can expect to start walking normally 4-5 months after surgery and can resume most physical activities within 6 months after surgery.

  2. How long does it take to fully recover from this surgery? After surgery, the lengthening process typically takes about 2-3 months depending on the lengthening amount. Following this, the process of bone healing takes about 5-6 months. In total, full recovery, including regaining strength and mobility, can take 9-12 months. However, the recovery timeline can vary depending on factors such as the patient's age, bone density, overall health, and commitment to rehabilitation.

  3. Is it normal to feel pain or discomfort during exercise after limb lengthening surgery? Some discomfort during exercise is normal, but it shouldn't be unbearable. If you experience significant pain or discomfort, don't force yourself. Stop the activity and consult your healthcare team immediately.

  4. Will my athletic abilities decrease or be affected? Your athletic abilities may be temporarily affected during the recovery period after your surgery. However, with proper rehabilitation, including a well-structured exercise program and guidance from experienced healthcare professionals, most patients can regain their pre-surgery athletic abilities. In some cases, patients may even experience improved performance due to increased limb length and strength gained during the recovery process.


For more information and a free consultation, contact us via WhatsApp at +905339735289 or email us at info@dryukselyurttas.com

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