Weight Bearing during Recovery

After an injury or operation, your surgeon will provide guidelines on when and how you can start weight-bearing. This is an essential part of your rehabilitation. Skipping this time, or putting any more weight through your leg than recommended can be very detrimental to your recovery.

Your physiotherapist will show you how to get around without using your injured leg. When necessary, you will be given aids like crutches, a cane or a walker to assist you (see Gait Aids and Moving and Mobility during Rehabilitation).

Usually, rehabilitation begins with minimal movement and protection of the injured limb. At this point you may be completely non-weight-bearing. As the bone or ligaments start to heal, you can begin to increase the weight you put through your leg.

This guide to weight-bearing during rehabilitation is designed to give you an idea of what you should and should not do during these periods. You should however always follow the advice of your physiotheapist.

You may also be referred to the occupational therapists for help in the home.

What should I be doing during non-weight-bearing?

  • Keep your leg elevated to reduce swelling, and if necessary use occasional icing. These two can be discussed with your physiotherapist.
  • Keep taking prescribed painkillers when needed and ask your physiotherapist for help in controlling pain. Beginning to move and retrain injured muscles can be painful! (See Pain Relief During Rehabilitation.)
  • Exercises for the rest of your leg & your body.
    • Your physio can show you exercises to maintain your general fitness while unable to weight beat (see Keeping Fit during Rehabilitation).
    • Other joints in the injured leg need to be kept moving to stay flexible. The muscles will also need to be exercised to maintain their strength and elasticity.
27 March, 2012