Orthopedic surgery is done to treat issues with the musculoskeletal system. The type of surgery you have will depend on your condition and the affected area. It’s common for orthopedic surgery to be done on the knees, shoulders, and hips. Your surgeon will have a consultation with you where they explain the specifics of your individual recovery.
But it helps to have some tips in mind before you get your surgery. These will help you plan your recovery so that you aren’t overwhelmed by the process.
1. Get help when needed.
One of the toughest things about surgery for some people is that it compromises your independence. You will need help when you’re recovering. Asking for help is important because it allows you to rest and heal, instead of worrying about taking care of your household.
If you have roommates or immediate family members, you can ask them to take over your household chores while you recover. If you live alone, you might ask a friend or family member to stay with you for a few days.
Depending on what type of orthopedic surgery you have, you might ask people for help with:
- Cooking meals
- Keeping your home clean
- Helping you to the bathroom
- Taking care of your wound
It’s important to use all of your resources and the social network at your disposal to recover effectively.
2. Follow your surgeon’s nutritional plan.
It’s vital that you get enough nutrients when you’re recovering from surgery. Your body needs minerals and vitamins to function properly. Vitamin deficiencies can slow the healing process or even cause complications as you recover.
Your surgeon will tell you what you should eat after the surgery. Some people won’t have any dietary restrictions at first, while others might. If you don’t have any restrictions on what you can eat, it’s best to eat foods like vegetables, fish, and lean meats.
Highly processed foods should be avoided. It’s also good to avoid foods with a large amount of artificially added sugar, as these cause your energy levels to fluctuate.
3. Rest when you get tired.
Many people have an instinct to “push through” feelings of tiredness. But that shouldn’t be the priority when you’re recovering from surgery. Your body does most of its repair work while you’re resting. Though you might feel like you’re sleeping the day away, your body is actually taking care of itself!
You’ll likely need at least a few days off work to rest, even if you work from home. You can expect to sleep in, go to bed early, and take naps throughout the day. At the same time, make sure to follow your surgeon’s activity plan.
4. Move your body once you safely can.
As you recover from the procedure, you will be given instructions for how to move the affected area. You will probably need to rest it for several days or even weeks. It’s vital that you pay attention to your surgeon’s instructions and ask any questions you have.
You should also try to keep the non-wounded parts of the body active. For example, people who get knee surgery should still try to move their arms and shoulders. This helps prevent your muscles from atrophying.