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Exercise Following Surgery

Posted by Laura on 1/16/04 at 18:49 (142232)

I had an open release PF surgery 7 months ago. I got a lot better and then started feeling more pain. Now it is a bit better. I am on no pain medication and have periods of no pain at all. I still cannot walk far without some pain or stand in one spot too long most of the time. I have been an aerobics teacher and avid exerciser for the past 25 years. I am now nearly 60, and thought I would try a few classes. I tried a very slow senior class, and it increased the pain. I tried a moderate step class and it hurt afterwards, but was better the next day. It seems to not hurt my foot as much as the very slow aerobics, which does not make sense. Maybe it is the lateral movement in the aerobics. I have done the step class three times now. Each time it gets better. My calves are very weak and I lack my regular muscles from inactivity, so I can just barely do this. I did it last night, very very carefully with no riser, and woke up this morning with no pain at all. Now, I realize this may be a stupid thing to do. But.....there is no lasting damage and I am better every time I do this.
What is your opinion? Is this dangerous for me to do? AS I say, there is some increased pain in the heel after the class for a few hours,but it is so much better and was actually no pain at all this morning. I also have pain in my knees, but I know this is from not exercising for so long. I do a very mild senior aqua class 3-4 times a week that is non weight bearing. I stay suspended in the water the whole time. That has helped me heal these last months.
I would appreciate anybody's opinion as to if you think I am doing the right thing. I do not want to suddenly have some sort of severe damage. I am older and a bit overweight, but I am being very careful.
Thanks so much for your responses.

Re: Exercise Following Surgery

Julie on 1/17/04 at 02:21 (142252)

Hello Laura

I relate very much to your situation - I teach yoga, and I know how I would feel if my foot problems had made it impossible for me to practise or teach. Fortunately they didn't (although life was difficult for a few months) and I have been over my PF for three years.

I'm not entirely sure what to tell you in answer to your question. Ordinarily, I would advise anyone with PF to steer clear of aerobics or step. But you are obviously very aware of your body, careful about what you do, and alert to signs of possible setbacks. So I would have been fairly confident about saying 'carry on, just continue being careful' (with the proviso that you give yourself spaces of a day or two between sessions to monitor the effects).

What makes me hesitant is that you are only 7 mnths post-surgery, and as it can take a year or more to heal completely it might be better to lay off until you really are out of pain. This is the best I can do, and I hope you will get a response from one of the doctors as well.

Have you looked at the yoga foot exercises? (Click on yoga.) They will help to bring your foot and lower leg muscles back to strength, and because there is no impact involved they won't hurt your knees. That might be a better option especially if you decide to stop stepping for now: then, when you return to step, your muscles will be better able to cope with it.

Re: Please could a doctor try and answer this? Thankyou

Laura on 1/19/04 at 12:30 (142372)

Please could a doctor answer this if possible. Thanks so much.

Re: Please could a doctor try and answer this? Thankyou

Julie on 1/19/04 at 16:41 (142387)

Thank you?????

Re: Please could a doctor try and answer this? Thankyou

Dr. Zuckerman on 1/19/04 at 20:40 (142404)

Julie has been you very good advice. You should not to do any excercises that cause pain during and or after. It take one year for healing. I know that is long but you are 7 months down the road to complete healing. I like the yoga

Re: Please could a doctor try and answer this? Thankyou

Laura on 1/20/04 at 00:38 (142418)

Thank you both, Julie and Dr. Z for the response. I will do it. I know you are correct. I guess I am impatient and need encouragement and suggestions.. Thanks again.

Re: Exercise Following Surgery

Laura on 1/20/04 at 00:41 (142419)

I printed off your execises for yoga for thge feet and will start them immediately. I have a good friend who taches senior fitness classes, and I am sure she would loe to see these too and possibly incorporate them into her movements. She does a wonderful 30 minute stretch at the end of her two hour class . Thanks again.

Re: Exercise Following Surgery

Julie on 1/20/04 at 03:26 (142423)

Hi Laura

I'm sorry for the brusque tone of my two-word post yesterday. I saw yours when I got home after a long days teaching and I suddenly felt irritated by the fact that so few people ever post a response, or even a 'thank you', to a post that someone has given considerable time, thought and care to. It's not just you - it's a general problem on this website. I know that one of the doctors who posts here is troubled by it too.

Yes, do use the yoga foot exercises, and I hope they will help you. Everyone gets impatient with PF - it's a long learning curve! But you will be able to get back to more aerobic exercise in time (though it will probably always be best to avoid too much of the impact stuff).

The foot exercises are a small part of a full sequence of exercises that work through all the body's joints. I taught them, sitting in chairs, for several years to a class of people in their 80s and 90s (my oldest student started at 101) and they all improved, physically, to the point where they could do things for themselves that they thought they would never be able to do again. And of course this gave them confidence. If your friend is interested, the whole sequence is described in my book, Office Yoga - it's out of print now, but used copies are available very cheaply online.