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The Best Exercises For Surgery Recovery

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: May 31, 2022

Chances are, most of us will undergo surgery at least one time in our lives, ranging from a minor procedure to a lifesaving operation. Depending on the severity, there are common mistakes that most are unaware of which slow down your recovery period. Returning to the hustle and bustle of a daily routine may indeed injure or tire your body post-op, but the opposite is also true. As soon as you can start moving around and are strong enough to exercise, you should do it.

In this article, we'll take a look at some low-impact stretches and exercises that you can do as soon as you can get out of bed and resume a semi-normal active routine.

Safe Exercises After Shoulder Surgery

Shoulder surgery has a long recovery period. More often than not, your healthcare professional will put your shoulder in a sling for a few weeks. This is something that cannot be avoided, as you are unable to do anything that engages your hand, arm, and shoulder. After the sling comes off, there will still be a waiting period for the range of motion and flexibility to come back, as exercising too soon may re-tear or dislocate your shoulder.

Luckily, safe exercises a few days immediately after shoulder surgery can be done in the form of cardio exercises. Running, stationary bike, and even certain-armed exercises: kettlebell swings, low impact squats, and setups (carefully!).shoulder surgery

Exercises After Bunion Surgery

Depending on how invasive the surgery was, post-op recovery from bunion surgery may not take too long before you can exercise. For more severe surgery, this may take up to 30 days. However, for a less intrusive surgery, you may be able to start as early as 3 days. As always, it is best to heed the recommendations and advice of your healthcare practitioner and post-op therapist.

Leg Raises before you can step on your feet, you should have enough strength in your legs to elevate above your head, keeping your blood from swelling in the affected area. Start by laying flat on your back (you can do this on your bed if you are not feeling well enough to lay on a mat or floor.) Place your hands by your side and have your feet and legs together. Slowly raise your feet as high as possible, ideally perpendicular to the body, depending on flexibility. You should feel your legs and core engaged. If you are having difficulty raising your legs, place your hands flat underneath your lower back, right above the tailbone, with 2 sets of 20 reps.

Exercises After Hammertoe Surgery

In general, a full recovery from hammertoe surgery takes about six weeks, depending on the invasiveness of the surgery. Much like bunion surgery, keeping your feet elevated is of paramount importance for the first couple of weeks to reduce swelling, even performing leg raises if you are able. For an extremely low-impact full-body exercise, swimming is a great choice, as it puts no pressure on your feet or ankles, and can be done as soon as you are able. To further strengthen your foot, perform:

Toe Lifts: Start by standing up straight with your bare feet on a hard and flat surface. If the pressure is too much, move to a grassy or soft area. Keeping your feet together, push up the balls of your feet so that you are standing on your toes, engaging a curling motion in all of your digits. If you are having some discomfort or difficulty keeping your balance, hang onto a solid object (such as a counter) when performing this exercise. 3 sets of 20 reps.

Hernia surgery is classified as a more intrusive and intense surgery, and resuming a high-impact workout routine may not be until a few months afterward. Generally speaking, you can start walking as soon as 5 days after your operation, and slowly work your way back to running, light chores, and driving.

Exercises To Avoid After Hernia Surgery

Hernia surgery is classified as a more intrusive and intense surgery, and resuming a high-impact workout routine may not be until a few months afterward. Generally speaking, you can start walking as soon as 5 days after your operation, and slowly work your way back to running, light chores, and driving. Avoid any high-impact exercises, weighted exercises, or exercises that require you to be bent over for long periods. These include compound lifts, rows, sit-ups, or any assisted machine exercises at the gym. Various exercises can be done if your hernia affects your disks and spinal facilities.

Pain management after surgery without drugs

For the first few days, you may have been given strong prescription drugs to numb the pain and let you recover, as early post-op is a crucial time for your body to recuperate enough to fend off disease and weakness. Afterward, stretches and natural vitamins can help in your recovery.


How soon after surgery can I smoke?

Often, surgery is the reason many people quit smoking. Ideally, it is never completely safe to smoke after surgery, as it weakens the immune system and certain parts of the body can get infected. At a minimum, you must wait 4-6 weeks.

Should I take antibiotics after surgery?

Yes. Your doctor or healthcare professional should have prescribed various medications after your surgery, including antibiotics if there is a risk of infection. It is best to consult with them before taking any prescription medication.

After surgery, can you drink alcohol?

No. Most people have some pain after surgery, with the worst of it being the day, when the pain medication and adrenaline wear off. This may drive your need to drink. However, this will slow down the healing process and interact with your medication. At least a few weeks to a few months of waiting is recommended.wine

After surgery, is it normal to be tired?

Very much so. There is a reason health care professionals advise that the first week is focused on rest and avoiding working or doing household chores. Your body is naturally recovering and striving to fight off illness and infection in a weakened state. It is normal to sleep multiple times a day in the first 2 weeks.



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