Foot surgery can be a great option for patients who have been unable to get rid of pain with conservative techniques, but surgery alone isn’t going to lead to your best recovery. If you really want to achieve maximum function, you need to put in the work in the form of rehabilitation exercises. That begs the question, what are some good exercises to perform after foot surgery? We’ve got you covered in today’s blog.
Exercises After Foot Surgery
These exercises should serve as a general guide for some exercises that could help strengthen the area and drive home recovery, but because every patient is different, it’s also a good idea to talk to your surgeon about which exercises may be best for your situation. With that in mind, here are some of the exercises we often recommend to our patients in the first few days after surgery. As you progress through rehab, you’ll add more heel-based exercises to the routine, but for now, we’re going to focus on some of the first exercises you’ll perform after surgery.
- Toe Lifts – Toe lifts are a simple exercise that work on the upwards mobility of our big toe joint. Simply start with your foot flat on the ground, then try to just lift your toes off the ground. Lift then set them back down. Do 15-20 of these before switching exercises.
- Toe Bends – We also want to develop mobility in the other direction. Begin with your feet flat on the ground but with your toes hanging over the edge of a stair. Or you can perform this exercise with your foot elevated on a chair or sofa. Bend your toes downward, then release. Do this 15-20 times as well.
- Toe Spreads – Now it’s time to work on your lateral joint movement. Sit or stand with your foot flat on the ground. Then, try to spread all your toes as far apart from one another as possible. Do this, hold it for a second or two, then release. Again, you want to aim for 15-20 of these.
- Toe Alphabet – Now it’s time to get a little more creative with our movement patterns. From a seated or standing position, have your foot flat and begin to draw each letter of the alphabet with your big toe. Try to keep your heel on the ground so that the movement is coming from the big toe joint itself and not from your entire foot. Do the alphabet once or twice through.
- Marble Pickup – Find a marble or similarly sized object and place it on the ground. Now, try to pick up the object by clenching your toes. Try to pick it up in the space between your big toe and your second toe. Pick it up, lift it a few inches off the ground, then drop the ball and repeat. Do this 10-15 times.
These five toe-focused activities will help build function, mobility, strength and stability in your big toe joint, and they can help speed up the recovery process. The more work you put in during this stage of your recovery, the better outcomes you’ll tend to see, so really dive into your exercises during this crucial stage of recovery.