Foot Surgery and Exercise, the Next Step…
Foot-Care Training Tips to Help Get Your Feet Back in Shape
“I just had foot surgery ten weeks ago bunion and two hammertoes how do I get my feet back in shape I do yoga Pilates and aerobics also any DVD exercises?” ~ Fran
A great question from Fran about recovering from foot surgery and exercise, popped into my inbox this week. Fran wants to know how to get her feet back in shape post-surgery. And I’m sure she’s not the only one out there looking for foot-care training tips after foot surgery.
Many of my clients who have had foot surgery were released by their doctor and not sent to Physical Therapy to do any type of rehab after surgery. But from my experience over the past forty years helping bodies move better to reduce pain and improve performance, learning targeted foot fitness exercises can be a very beneficial part of recovering from foot surgery.
Prior to surgery (when your feet hurt all by themselves, before any surgical procedures…) chances are you changed your gait habits to avoid putting pressure on painful parts of your feet to stand, walk, or run. Now that your feet are “fixed” via foot surgery, the hope is that everything will miraculously feel better once you’ve recovered from surgery. But you’ve had a lifetime of habits and compensation patterns to avoid hurting your feet, and it’s not just your feet that have compensated, it’s your whole body! Ankles, arches, toes, lower legs, knees, thighs, hips, core, spine, shoulders and arms, neck and head. Chances are every part of you can benefit from learning new and better posture and movement habits. Even the shoes you were wearing prior to surgery are “holding” your old habits. So consider cleaning out your closet and go buy yourself some new shoes! P.S. on the Shoes – never wear flip-flops or strapless, backless shoes again. EVER… if you love your feet and want them to stay healthy get rid of every pair in your closet and only buy well-fitting shoes that are good for your feet.
It’s going to sound simple, but it will take dedicated effort and work to improve your foot fitness after foot surgery and exercise is key for your recovery.
Here are a few tips for your foot-fitness training plan:
- Get written approval from your Surgeon that it is safe and appropriate for you to begin exercising your feet.
- Ask your doctor for a referral to Physical Therapy, and/or if there are any specific foot-care exercises they want you to do, AND if there are any exercises or activities you need to AVOID!
- If you are given approval for exercise, start with non-weight bearing activities, and non-weight bearing foot-fitness exercises (like the Terrific Toe series in the book Fantastic Feet!)
- Pilates and other types of whole-body / mind-body training can be extremely helpful to keep you off your feet, and improving posture, body alignment, and muscle balance from your head to your toes. Pilates Matwork will be safest to start with, but there are lots of Pilates equipment exercises that can be incorporated into your program too, and the spring resistance on the Reformer and Pilates Chairs can be very beneficial to help you progress to full-weight bearing on your feet (with better body alignment and correct muscle support.)
- Other activities like swimming or water-jogging can be a nice way to reduce impact and move for more cardio. Find a variety of activities you enjoy that are safe for your feet.
- To re-train your feet, just putting your shoes on and going out for a walk or a run, will not be enough to improve your foot fitness. You’re going to want to incorporate targeting foot fitness exercises for your ankles, arches, and toes.
And since every body is different, it would be best to let your doctor decide what is safe and appropriate for you, since they know exactly what’s been done to your feet with surgery. Not every exercise is appropriate for every person, it’s important that you listen to your doctor, and listen to your body as you begin doing more with your feet and exercise.
The best bundle of foot care products I recommend to everyone who in interested in taking better care of their feet is the Runfit Kit™. You do NOT have to be a runner to benefit from the exercises and foot-fitness training tools in the Runfit Kit™. But this Kit contains the best products I’ve found to help target the feet and help keep them healthy. Each of these products is available separately, but having ALL the tools in the Runfit Kit™ to use as a system for healthy feet will give you options, and choices for variety in your foot-fitness workouts.
The Runfit Kit™ contains the book Fantastic Feet! Exercises to Strengthen the Ankles, Arches, and Toes, a mini foot-fitness kit, the Centerworks® Acupressure Foot Massage Mat, a pair of Yamuna Foot Savers with DVD, and the Super-Ankles Foot-Fit Board System (Ankle Training Board, Exercise Booklet, and DVD) Each of these foot fitness training tools has unique benefits for improving the strength, flexibility, and alignment of your feet. This combination of products gives you choices for your foot-fitness workouts.
You can easily target strength and flexibility, as well as stability and mobility to improve how you stand and walk, plus improve balance and body control.
Balance can be a challenge when your feet hurt, and the goal now is to re-balance your body after foot surgery, and exercise, (the right exercises) can help you achieve this goal.
You don’t have to spend hours exercising your feet! 5-10 minutes (or more), 2-3 days a week, for targeted, short, quick foot fitness workouts with the right exercises for YOUR feet, can make a big difference in improving your foot fitness for healthier, happier, pain-free feet.
Listen to your body. Start slowly and progress from non-weight bearing exercises, back to exercises standing upright on your feet. Give your body enough time to heal from surgery before you start pounding the pavement to walk (or run) for fitness, just walking around for daily life might be enough time upright on your feet for a while until they get stronger and have fully recovered from your foot surgery.
If all you want is a few easy exercises for your feet, get a copy of the Fantastic Feet book, and with your doctor’s approval, get started with the Terrific Toe exercises. As your feet get stronger, you can progress to the other exercises in the book. But if you want to really do more to help keep your feet fit for a lifetime of good health, invest in your feet and get a Runfit Kit™. The Runfit Kit will give you everything you need to fine-tune your foot fitness and help you get your feet back in shape to stay healthy, active, and pain-free.