Centerworks Blog

Foot Care and the Best Exercises for Your Feet After Foot Surgery

Q&A about foot fitness resources from Centerworks.com

This week I received an email with questions about some of the foot fitness resources I’ve got available at Centerworks.com.  I had such a great conversation with Lisa about taking care of her feet and figuring out the best exercises for feet after foot surgery, that I asked if I could share our conversation in a blog post.  I’m sure Lisa isn’t the only person out there recovering from foot surgery and wondering what the next step is to get back to 100% with healthy, pain-free feet.

Questions about Foot Care after Foot Surgery:

“Hi Aliesa, I just saw your foot saver demo on You Tube, but before I try these out I wanted to make sure they would help with the issue I’m experiencing. I just had foot surgery in my mid-foot area for a bone spur that was pressing against a nerve that runs along the first metatarsal area. During surgery, the doctor had to cut a tendon that was pressing against this same nerve. The procedure went beautifully; the problems I was experiencing before are mostly gone. But now that I am able to get around more, I want to find things I can do to help loosen up the stiffness I am feeling near the incision, especially with my toes. They are very stiff, probably because I had to keep my foot pretty immobile, allowing the incision to heal properly. Using my recumbent bike has really helped so I tried adding towel curls to help stretch out this area. However, I am so stiff I cannot do those at all. The muscles/tendons (?) are way too stiff. I then found a stretch where all you do is interlace your fingers between your toes and, oh my gosh, that was surprisingly, extremely painful. I immediately felt stabbing pains along the nerve area, which tells me it’s too soon to do that. As I was looking for another solution, I came across your foot savers. Do you think they would help loosen up this toe issue? It’s only been 17 days since my surgery, and I didn’t know if it was too early to use them. Normally, when I’ve had surgeries in the past, I have needed to wait 6 weeks before doing any type of PT so I wanted your opinion on that, as well. Thank you for your time.”  Lisa.

Answers from Aliesa George, Centerworks.com

Thanks for contacting me!  I’m glad that your foot surgery went well, and you are recovering.  I can’t give you any specific advice because I’m not your foot surgeon.  That would be who I’d be chatting with to inquire about when you can start incorporating foot exercises into your weekly routine after foot surgery.  I would think that 17 days out is way too soon, and your body needs more time to heal (For most parts of the body that 6-8-week window of healing time is always best).  But, sometimes the doctor wants you moving things around much sooner, and other issues need longer healing time.  So please call your doctor and get more assistance from him/her on post-recovery protocol.

Also, it will be helpful for you to know from your surgeon if there are any ranges of movement that are contra-indicated after foot surgery.  Meaning post-surgery because of what’s been surgically repaired, your body cannot physically bend or move in certain directions any more. Sometimes this is forever, other times, just during the healing process. 

A few questions to ask your doctor are:

  1. How long to rest your feet and recover?
  2. Are there any movements, foot exercises, or activities that you cannot do or work on improving once you’re healed?
  3. Are there specific foot-care exercises your doctor recommends doing post-surgery? 

Sometimes there are things they really don’t want you to do, or things that post surgery are impossible, and attempting them will only undo all the corrections that were made surgically.  Knowledge is power, the more good questions you ask, the better informed you’ll be on what is safe and appropriate to help heal your feet.

When your doctor gives you the green light, and you know what specifically you can do safely and need to avoid, then it will be appropriate to look at what your options are to keep your feet strong, stretched, and supporting you properly.

About the Foot Care Resources from Centerworks.com

The Foot Savers can be great for everybody, but for sure are too much too soon right now. The exercises in my book – Fantastic Feet, might be a better starting point (when you’re approved by your doc to do something!). There is a section in the Fantastic Feet book of Toe Exercises – and for most people this is the best place to start, regardless of the reason you want to improve foot fitness.  You’ll be using your hands to “gently” manipulate the toes in different ranges of movement, until the muscle of the feet become strong and mobile enough to move your feet.  Then there are exercises in the book that can progress you from non-weight bearing, up to weight bearing…which might be safer then starting out doing standing foot exercises post-surgery.

Hope this helps get you started.  Call your doctor and ask more questions.  Sometimes you can get Physical Therapy, if it’s offered take advantage of it.  If it’s not offered, ask if it’s an option.  Generally speaking, ALL the products that I offer for foot fitness are good for your feet (and you can get them individually or get them all at once in the RunFit Kit. You don’t have to be a runner to benefit from all these great foot care resources) – but not every exercise is appropriate for every person.  It’s knowing what you can do that is safe and appropriate, and how to do your exercises correctly that will ensure that what you are doing is helping you get your feet back to 100% good health.

There are lots of wonderful foot fitness exercises out there to incorporate once you’re healed.  And also lots of ways to exercise the rest of your body without putting pressure on your feet.  You just need to seek the assistance of the right health professionals to help guide you.  Our feet are important and it’s challenging to really give them the break they need to rest and recover after foot surgery, or any foot injury. 

If you’ve dealt with foot pain for very long, chances are you’ve “gimped” and limped around for a few weeks/months/years? And the compensation habits you’ve developed while trying to stay off a painful foot can create muscle imbalances throughout the rest of your body that you might not even realize you’ve created (until something else starts hurting…) 

Not sure where you live, but finding a great Pilates studio in your area and taking some Private sessions would be an excellent way to help you exercise everything from your head to your toes in a safe and supported environment. (Once your Doctor gives you the green light to get started exercising again!)

We’ve only got one pair of feet and they need to get us around for a lifetime. Taking good care of everything from our head to our toes is important for a healthy, active life.  Accidents happen, and occasionally surgery is the best, or only option.  Patience, rest, recovery, and then getting started with a doctor-recommended rehab/recovery program can be the best way to get back to optimal health.

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