Prehabilitation May Increase Recovery After Surgery
Prehabilitation, a structured exercise plan aimed at increasing joint and muscle strength before surgery, is one of the most overlooked aspects of surgery prep. While prehabilitation (prehab) is widely regarded as a must for older patients, it's incredibly useful for anyone scheduled to undergo knee surgery.
By building strength and range of motion prior to surgery, you better prepare your knee joint for the trauma it will experience during and immediately after the procedure. Prehab has been shown to improve strength and function after surgery, decrease hospital stay duration and improve long-term joint function.
A prehab program typically includes specific exercises designed to build strength in the part of the body that will be most affected by the surgical event. It may also go a step further and include other approaches to ensure a successful recovery, such as:
- blood sugar control, to reduce postoperative infection
- weight management, to reduce load bearing stress on a postoperative joint
- smoking cessation, for better healing
- nutritional strategies, including protein supplementation, to support an increase in tissue repair and muscle strength after the procedure.
How far in advance prehab begins really depends on why it's being used. As you'd expect, an arthroscopic procedure would cause less trauma than a total knee replacement, therefore requiring a different prehab methodology.
Prehab should be overseen solely by a medical provider, but building general strength and health before elective surgery is always a good idea. Provided your doctor approves, you should consider adopting a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and incorporating whole-body strength training into your routine.
By doing this, you're jump starting your knee surgery recovery before the scalpel even makes the first cut!