Orthopaedic surgery can be performed for a myriad of reasons, commonly for sports injuries and to eliminate pain from long-term wear and tear to joints. Facing the prospect of orthopaedic surgery can be daunting and the first question that may pop up in your mind when you meet with your orthopaedic surgeon is how long will you take to recover and return back to your daily activities or playing sports.
Let’s take a look at some of the key factors that come into play to ensure a safe and speedy recovery from surgery:
5 tips to aid in faster recovery
Optimal habits that aid in your healing, proper nutrition and a healthy mental attitude can go a long way in forming the building blocks of recovering from surgery.
1. Healthy nutrition
While many have a poor appetite after surgery due to feeling weak and unwell, nausea or constipation, eating and drinking well will help in your recovery. Make sure you’re taking in adequate fluids like water and juices for hydration and you’re having healthy, nutritious meals. Think of it as fuel for your recovery. A healthy diet can reduce the side effects of anaesthesia and post-surgery complications and promote quicker healing.
2. Caring for your wound
The basics are to always wash your hands before touching your surgical wound and to use sterile products and tools. This will prevent infections and it’s one of the crucial things you need to do in your recovery process. But take care not to over-clean the wound. There’s no need to remove the scabs that form or use alcohol or peroxide to rid the wound area of germs, unless your orthopaedic surgeon specifically advises you to do so. Usually just a gentle rinse with soap and water is enough to keep your wound clean.
Take some time to also inspect your wound to see if it is reddish in colour, if there’s wound drainage, and if the stitches or staples are still in place. This will help you identify if your wound is healing as it should be or if there is an infection.
3. Get moving
It may actually be counterproductive to refrain from movement and light activity after surgery. Instead, ask your orthopaedic specialist for advice on when you can start to partake in light moving activities and the types of activities you can do. Light movements can prevent more serious complications like deep vein thrombosis and it’s an ideal way to ease back into physical activity. Interestingly, movement can also help prevent a common side effect of anaesthesia — constipation! After discussion with your surgeon, you can also consider physical therapy.
4. Know when to seek emergency medical help
Most of your recovery may be going well. But there may be some instances of an emergency when you should head to a doctor as soon as possible. If you can’t reach your orthopaedic surgeon immediately, head to your nearest hospital where they can assist. Watch out for signs like bleeding, infection indicators like discolouration or drainage, trouble breathing, inability to urinate, vomiting food and water, and adverse reactions to post-surgery medication.
5. Follow your orthopaedic surgeon’s instructions
Once you have been discharged, it is important to follow the instructions given along with your discharge. While this can be challenging, it is imperative to your recovery. It may be tempting to follow the instructions that are easier to follow or are more appealing to you and disregard the others, but there are very good reasons why your orthopaedic specialist has given you that specific advice. If you’re told to avoid baths for a period of time, refrain from swimming or not to lift anything heavier than a certain weight for a few weeks after surgery, keep in mind that while it’s inconvenient or restrictive, following the instructions will actually aid in quicker healing.
This also includes keeping to your follow-up appointments with your orthopaedic surgeon. Even if you feel like you’re healing well, it’s always a good practice to check in with your doctor so that they can look out for additional things you may miss, confirm that there are no infections, do follow-up blood work if necessary and ensure your condition has been adequately treated by the surgical procedure.
Orthopaedic specialist in Singapore for surgeries
The road to recovery from orthopaedic surgery may not always be easy, but you can set yourself up for success by following these tips, advice from your orthopaedic surgeon and through patience and perseverance.
OrthofootMD is an orthopaedic clinic in Singapore that prides itself on providing quality orthopaedic care. Led by Dr Gowreeson Thevendran, an experienced orthopaedic surgeon with a specialist interest in lower limb orthopaedic conditions and skilled in minimally invasive surgical techniques, you can be assured that you are in capable and caring hands at our one-stop specialist orthopaedic centre.
Reach out to us to know more about our orthopaedic surgical procedures and post-surgery recovery.