It's important to maintain your flexibility and strength after you've had foot surgery. While it's important for you to give your foot ample time to heal, you need to start exercising and regaining your strength as soon as you're physically able. There are several low impact exercises that can be done to improve flexibility and help you regain your range of motion and mobility. As soon as Dr. Nagy gives you the heads up, you can start by performing a few exercises every day.
Pilates and Yoga
Pilates and yoga are two types of exercise that use both stretching and positioning to increase circulation and improve flexibility. They are easily adapted so you can perform them from almost anywhere. You can take your time and limit your movements so that you are not re-injuring your feet or causing any unnecessary pain or discomfort. Both Pilates and yoga can be performed from a seated position, so you can flex and hold each position for as long as is comfortable.
Stretching and Toning
Stretching and toning exercises can also be used to flex your entire foot from your toes to your ankles. As you stretch out your feet and point your toes, draw circles or trace the letters of the alphabet. This allows you to flex and move your foot and ankle in almost every direction. After foot surgery, it's natural to experience some degree of pain and discomfort. Don't force the movement. Gradually enter into the stretch and hold it for a few seconds before releasing it. These exercises will not only tone the muscles and improve your flexibility, it will also begin to strengthen the entire foot. They can be performed almost anywhere and at any time.
The warmth of the water and the constant resistance you feel as you move, are extremely beneficial. The water will support your body weight so you can "walk" in the pool without putting an excessive amount of stress or strain on your feet. Don't enter the pool or any other type of water if you still have your stitches in place. Your stitches should be removed before you consider this type of exercise. Dr. Nagy will discuss your options with you and will let you know when you can safely enter a swimming pool or hot tub after you've had foot surgery.
Depending on what type of foot surgery you've had and how the exercise bike is designed will determine whether or not this type of exercise is right for you. Exercise bikes that have the larger footrests are a much better choice because there is less risk of your foot sliding off the pedal as you workout. Smaller footrests may cause your foot to shift, even if they have the straps to hold them in place. The pedaling action will allow you to flex both your feet and ankles. You can adjust your speed and degree of difficulty so they are both within your comfort range. Even though this is a low impact exercise, proceed with caution and stop immediately if your feet begin to hurt or your legs start to cramp.
Many people dread foot surgery. The fact is with proper care and a knowledge podiatrist to help guide you through the recovery process, everything will go smoothly and you be able to be back on your feet in no time at all. Dr. Nagy can provide you with several low impact exercises that are easy to perform. Exercising regularly will help you regain your strength and get you back on your feet. If you have concerns about your upcoming foot surgery, talk to Dr. Nagy. Beginning these exercises prior to having surgery will give your feet a head start on the healing process.
At Nagy Footcare, our best day is when you wake up with no foot pain.