The Role of Prehab on Your Road Back From Surgery

by Samy Shash

Picture this – you’ve just left your fracture clinic appointment and the results are in: full-thickness ACL tear. Your surgeon books you in for surgery, but due to hospital backlog, you won’t be getting your operation for several months. You sit in dismay wondering how you will get by without getting your ligament repaired. You’ve already heard the stories about the long, arduous road to recovery and wonder how this process will go for you when you’ll be stuck walking on crutches playing the waiting game. Luckily, there is a solution already waiting for you.

Prehabilitation or “prehab” is a proactive approach to preparing your body for the surgical procedure you will be undergoing. It is a type of physical therapy program designed to improve and enhance your postoperative recovery and reduce your risk of complications.

Prehab can help with:

  1. Strengthening your muscles. Studies show that the number one factor for a successful recovery after ACL surgery is restoring full quadriceps strength. Maintaining and improving your strength before surgery will ensure your post-operative rehab can get started on the right foot.
  2. Improving your flexibility and range of motion. By preventing scar tissue and stiffness from settling in after your surgery, you can ensure your surgeons can operate with the least possible toll on your joint. Moreover, prehab can also help reduce your pain and swelling immediately after your injury, which can ultimately prepare you better for surgery.
  3. Mentally preparing for surgery. Going into surgery can be daunting, and prehab can help ease your anxiety by giving you a sense of control over your recovery. It will also provide you with a preview of how your post-operative rehab will go.

It’s important to note that prehab is not just for athletes or people who are already in good physical shape. Even if you have a sedentary lifestyle, or if you are older, prehab can help you prepare for surgery and reduce your risk of post-operative complications. Anyone, of any age and activity level can improve on their strength and mobility after an injury. Prehab can be done before a hip or knee replacement, ACL reconstruction, meniscus repair, and various other procedures.

Samy Shash

If you have an upcoming surgery and want to prepare yourself mentally and physically as effectively as possible, book an assessment with our physiotherapist Samy Shash at Synergy Sports Medicine, East End (2017 Danforth Avenue)


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