Stepping with Confidence: Enhance Your Balance and Stability with Physiotherapy in Post-Operative Rehabilitation

December 10th, 2023
Enhance Balance with Post-Operative Rehab in Ontario

Are you scheduled for a total knee or hip replacement? How about an ACL or Achilles tendon repair? All of these lower-body orthopedic procedures will require a lengthy rehabilitation period during which you’ll need to rebuild strength, regain mobility, and enhance your balance and stability.

Why are balance and stability so important in post-surgical rehabilitation? Perhaps the most significant reason is your elevated fall risk. Consider the following statistics:

  • Between 14% and 38% of total knee replacement patients fall within a year of surgery.
  • Over 40% of total hip replacement patients fall within a year of surgery.
  • An estimated 2%-17% of all hospital inpatients fall during their hospital stay.

While it’s true that your fall risk increases dramatically as you age, younger people are not necessarily immune, especially if they’re rehabilitating from a lower body orthopedic surgery. Full rehabilitation takes time, and trying to do too much too soon can lead to falls, reinjury, and other complications.

These complications are why post-surgical physiotherapy at MEX Physio is essential. Our therapists will help you return to your active lifestyle safely and efficiently. For patients undergoing hip, knee, ankle, or foot surgeries, we’ll focus on balance and gait training to ensure you stay on your feet during rehabilitation.

If you have an upcoming surgery, call our Ontario clinic to learn more about your post-surgical physiotherapy options!

Which Surgeries Require Balance Rehabilitation?

Any procedure affecting your lower extremities will likely require extensive balance training while improving strength and range of motion. Here are some of the more common procedures we see at our clinic:

  • Total Knee Replacement: This surgery involves replacing damaged bone in the knee joint, usually the tibia (shin bone), femur (thigh bone), or patella (kneecap). It’s usually performed on people with severe osteoarthritis.
  • Total Hip Replacement: As with a knee replacement, this procedure involves replacing damaged bone and cartilage in the hip with a prosthetic. Reasons someone may need an artificial hip include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, hip fractures, and spondylitis.
  • ACL Repair: This surgery repairs a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) located in the knee. ACL injuries are common among athletes and usually, although not always, require surgery.
  • Foot Surgeries: There are several types of foot and ankle surgeries, such as metatarsal foot surgery or bunion correction. While these aren’t major surgeries in the same way as total joint replacements, they will require extensive gait retraining during rehabilitation.

No matter what surgery you’ve undergone, our physiotherapists will work with you to develop a rehabilitation program that addresses any balance or stability concerns you have. Through balance training, gait training, and overall stability work, we’ll help minimize your fall risk as you recover.

How Can Post-Operative Physiotherapy Enhance Your Balance and Stability?

While any post-surgical rehabilitation program at MEX Physio will be comprehensive, we do have several techniques we can use to focus specifically on enhancing or restoring balance.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that almost all lower-body orthopedic surgeries require using a mobility aid, such as crutches or a walker, in the first few weeks after surgery. Our first steps will help ensure you are safe and using them properly. In addition, we’ll emphasize building the strength and stamina necessary to put your full body weight on your affected leg.

Once you’ve accomplished that goal, we’ll incorporate balance training into your program. Balance training consists of specialized exercises designed to challenge your balance so that you can see improvements over time. It’s a form of functional training that will help you navigate real-life situations, such as uneven sidewalks, walking across loose asphalt and navigating around obstacles within the home or out in the community.

We’ll start slowly. What exactly that looks like will depend on your surgery and your starting fitness level. Generally, though, we’ll begin with supported balance exercises, then move on to unsupported activities. Once you feel your balance enhance, you can start to practice walking across varied surfaces and dealing with challenges like stepping over or around obstacles.

We often incorporate gait training alongside balance training. Gait training focuses on your walking patterns, speed, and step and stride length. Surgery can impact your gait, interrupting your usual walking patterns. We’ll look for any abnormalities and help you address them so you don’t develop new gait patterns or other compensations that impact your long-term recovery after surgery.

Finally, we can help you strengthen the muscles of your back, hips, and glutes–your core muscles. A strong core provides stability in your spine and plays a significant role in helping you stay balanced. If your surgery affected your posture, we can also work with you on postural corrections to help you stay upright.

Stay Balanced with Post-Operative Physiotherapy

At MEX Physio, we understand how complex post-surgical rehabilitation can be, especially for major surgeries like total knee or hip replacement. Our team of dedicated physiotherapists will work closely with you and your surgical team to develop a rehabilitation program that addresses all of your needs, including balance and stability.

If you know you’ll be requiring post-surgical rehabilitation services in the future, now is the time to start planning! Schedule an appointment at our Ontario office to learn more about all we offer and how we can help you enhance your balance!


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