When preparing for orthopedic surgery there’s a slew of things that need to be done. You’ll need to make lists upon lists of some very important things such as any and all medication or supplements you’re taking, any pre-existing health conditions you may have, people to contact in case of an emergency, and your various physicians’ names and contact information.
There are other pragmatic things you’ll need to get done ahead of time as well. You’ll have to make sure your home is ready for you to come home to, ensuring it’s post-op friendly. Move items around so that it’s as easy to move through your space as possible while your mobility is challenged, and even potentially set up a temporary bedroom on the first floor. Make sure your hallways are clear enough for crutches or a walker, and you may want to install safety rails in the bathroom. Anything that can make life easier after your surgery should be done well ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about it later.
But the most important thing to get done before your surgery is something that will likely help you the most in the long run afterward: prehab!
What is prehab? It’s precisely what it sounds like: the equivalent of rehabilitation therapy that takes place prior to surgery in order to prepare your body for the strain of recovery. Not unlike rehab, you would go to a clinic and perform certain strength-training exercises and soft tissue release techniques with a physical therapist in order to help strengthen muscles normalize muscle tone and improve mobility. This helps strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee so the recovery process is easier and it can help you get back to doing what you love more quickly!
Here we have a few prehab exercises you can try on your own at home if you’re about to undergo knee replacement surgery. It’s important to note that doing this with a physiotherapist is always the best route to go. If you need a knee replacement, the chances are you may need assistance performing these exercises.
Lie on your back on the floor. You may use a yoga mat or thick towel if your floors are uncarpeted or too firm. Tighten the muscles in front of your thighs by pushing your knee towards the ground, holding for five seconds and then releasing. Repeat this five to 20 times for up to three sets.
While sitting in a stable chair with your knees bent at a 90º angle, raise your leg at the knee until it’s straight and in line with your thigh. Hold this for five seconds and slowly lower your foot back to the ground. You’ll want to do up to three sets of five to 20 repetitions of this exercise, as well.
Supported One Leg Stands
While standing next to a countertop, waist-high bar, or a sturdy chair, hold onto the surface with the hand closest to it and stand on your affected leg with the other foot raised for 30 seconds at a time. Make sure you’re squeezing your gluteal muscles and engaging your abdomen for adequate support.
At Midtown Physiotherapy, we believe that prehab is the best way to ensure a successful recovery from orthopedic surgery. You can book appointments with us online to come in for an assessment and to start your prehab today!
Midtown Physiotherapy is a Toronto physiotherapy clinic offering client-centred and evidence-based treatment to help you get back to what you love. We offer appointments at our Yonge and St. Clair location, as well as home services for those unable to come to us.