Ankle Surgery: Does It Stop Me from Working Out?

Podiatric surgery has a significant impact on your overall health as well as your mobility. As the recovery process requires a significant amount of time off your feet, many patients take it as an opportunity to “take some time off” and end up letting their diet and physical activity suffer. While you can’t actively workout while you are recovering from an ankle surgery, there are a few things you can do to maintain your health and even expedite the recovery process.

Foot Ankle Surgery


Pre-Surgery Preparation

In all reality, your recovery process begins far before you even have your surgery. To best prepare your body for the recovery process, you can take action now to improve your overall health and ensure that you are best situated for an effective recovery. Working with the right foot doctor definitely helps, but beyond that, you should also:

  • Get a medical evaluation – Depending on your age and risk factors, your foot doctor may require a thorough medical evaluation prior to your surgery. This can reveal any specific health concerns that may impact your surgery and/or recovery.
  • Stop smoking if you do – Smoking increases the stress on your heart when you are under anesthesia. If you smoke, stop now.
  • Consider your weight– Even a slight amount of weight loss prior to your surgery can help your recovery process, especially if you are currently overweight. Losing a little weight prior to your surgery will make maneuvering on crutches easier and will put less strain on your joints as you begin bearing weight again.
  • Exercise before surgery – Most patients are required to undergo physical therapy after surgery. It can be difficult to develop this habit and effectively recover balance, etc. when pain and stress are involved post-surgery. So, getting into the habit of exercise prior to the procedure can help.


Post-Surgery Recovery

Once you have had your surgery, you’ll want to take a couple of days to let your body rest and heal, but following that time, you’ll benefit most from following a few tips to expedite the healing process. To improve your recovery process, you can:

  • Eat plenty but well – Your body needs fuel to be able to heal itself, so it’s important that you eat enough of the right things during this process. Avoid high-fat, high-sugar foods and try to incorporate more nutrient-dense foods instead. Lean proteins, raw fruits and vegetables, and nuts are all essential foods for you during recovery. Also be sure to drink plenty of water to reduce inflammation and effectively lubricate your joints.
  • Consider nutritional supplements – In addition to eating well, you may want to consider supporting your body’s healing process by taking nutritional supplements. Many individuals benefit from calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin C during recovery.
  • Follow rehabilitation suggestions – Your doctor will likely recommend post-surgery rehabilitation to improve your mobility throughout the recovery process. Be sure to attend each session that is scheduled. You should also consider incorporating other strength-building exercises. For example, you could perform light arm exercises in a seated position to maintain muscle tone and strength throughout your recovery.
  • Pay attention to pain – You will have some discomfort post-surgery, but it is important that you find a foot doctor who will listen to your concerns if you continue to have pain in your foot or ankle. Keeping track of your pain level in a journal or notebook may help you identify any unusual pain and avoid concerns post-surgery.
  • Be patient – At any rate, recovery will take time. So it is important that you be patients with the process and give your body time to do what it needs to – heal.

Although the recovery takes time and extra care, going through with the process can help you regain a quality of life that you were unable to achieve prior to the surgery. Follow these tips and the suggestions of your doctor to make sure you have the best experience possible.