What Are the Best Physical Therapy Exercises to Recover From Surgery?


Quick Answer

Each type of surgery, such as breast surgery, total hip replacement and back surgery, has different recommended exercises, according to BreastCancer.org, EverydayHealth, and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. No exercises should be done without the express permission of the attending surgeon.

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What Are the Best Physical Therapy Exercises to Recover From Surgery?
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Full Answer

For total hip replacement, the best early exercises to help blood circulation are ankle pumps, ankle rotations and bed-supported knee bends, states the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Buttock contractions, leg slides and tightening of the thigh muscles are also recommended. When able to stand, hold on to a chair and do side leg lifts, knee raises and hip extensions are helpful exercises. As soon as a patient can walk, walking and climbing stairs are extremely helpful.

For back surgery, always check with a doctor before beginning any exercises, and start slowly, asserts EverydayHealth. Lie flat on the back and tighten the stomach muscles until the small of the back is on the floor — this is a pelvic tilt. Also, try lying flat on the back and pulling the knee to the chest while flattening the back. Next, try flattening one leg against the floor while pulling the other leg to the chest with your hands. Exercise in the water, after being cleared by the surgeon, can make back strengthening exercises less difficult.

Great exercises after breast surgery include raising the arm above heart level, and opening and closing the hand, according to Breastcancer.org. Any exercises should be cleared with a physician first. Practice deep breathing and consider walking for cardio. Gentle shoulder rolls and gentle arm circles can help stretch the muscles. Calf exercises can help ward off blood clots until it's okay to do more strenuous exercises.

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