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How to Stay Fit after Leg Surgery [5 Effective Tips]

Experiencing a leg injury or having to undergo leg surgery can feel like a major setback when you’re trying to reach your health and fitness goals, but it doesn’t have to be. 

Learn how to stay fit after leg surgery with these five essential tips. 

1. Get Good Nutrition 

It’s easy to give up on nutrition while injured, but learning how to stay fit after surgery starts with optimal eating. 

What you put into your body counts. Eating junk food with low nutritional value will only make your recovery and health goals harder to reach. Conversely, eating healthy foods and getting enough vitamins can help you heal faster. The Cleveland Clinic recommends giving your body vitamins A and C, and minerals, such as zinc, to improve healing. It’s also important to take in a  sufficient amount of calories, especially proteins. 

Because your body burns more calories while healing, the HSS recommends that you don’t cut your calories while recovering from a leg injury. Doing so may slow your healing and result in complications. 

2. Drink Plenty of Water

In addition to getting the proper nutrition to aid your recovery, you should also stay hydrated. 

In a study published on her website, Wound Management and Prevention, nutritionist Nancy Collins, Ph.D, found that there is a connection between proper hydration and wound healing. In short, adequate water intake is essential while you’re recovering from your injury.

3. Maintain Activity Levels Before Surgery

The better conditioned your body is prior to surgery, the better your recovery will be. 

For that reason, use the time before your surgery to maintain, or improve, your fitness. Your doctor may even recommend specific exercises to focus on before surgery to aid in your recovery. 

4. Get Plenty of Rest Post Surgery & Ask Your Doctor for Approved Workouts When Ready

What’s the best way to stay fit after surgery? Sleeping in bed

Make sure you don’t re-injure yourself. Ask your doctor about activities and exercises that are suitable to perform and only resume activity and exercise once your doctor has approved it. The closer you follow your doctor’s orders and take time to heal, the less likely you will be to reinjure yourself and slow your recovery. 

Once your doctor gives approval, it’s safe to start moving again. Learning how to stay fit after leg surgery will require some creativity in your workouts. Using a mobility aid like a hands-free crutch can help you navigate the gym while you focus on upper-body workouts and core exercises. Check to see what exercises your physical therapist recommends to help you through the recovery process.Though you may miss your old fitness routine, this is an opportunity to work muscle groups you might otherwise miss. 

5. Reduce Inflammation

Though inflammation is a normal and essential part of the healing process, too much inflammation can cause additional pain and slow recovery of a leg injury. Some methods to reduce inflammation are: 

    • Elevate the affected leg
    • Use a cold compress on the affected area
    • Use compression therapy
  • Reduce sodium intake

Always consult with your doctor before using any of these techniques to reduce your swelling and inflammation. 

Staying Fit After Surgery

Figuring out how to stay fit after leg surgery can be a challenge, requiring you to be consistent and creative. 

Although leg injuries can feel like major setbacks, exercising with a foot injury, finding exercises you can do with a hamstring injury, and maintaining overall fitness while injured is possible. If your leg injury is below the knee, a hands-free iWALK2.0 crutch makes it possible to safely stay mobile around the gym and at home. 

Most importantly, don’t get discouraged. It is possible to continue to maintain your health and fitness while you recover.