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Can You Do Sports after Limb Lengthening Surgery?

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Cosmetic limb lengthening surgery is a life-changing procedure that can make you achieve your dream height and correct discrepancies in limb lengths if you have any. A question that often comes up for individuals is, "When can I start exercising again after limb lengthening surgery?" or "Can I pursue sports competitively after limb lengthening?" In this article, we'll cover these questions, providing a detailed timeline for recovery and a real-life example to inspire your post-surgery journey.

How Long Should You Wait Before Going Back to Exercising?

Understanding the Post-Surgery Healing Timeline

Going through limb lengthening surgery is a significant commitment, and the healing process following the procedure is crucial to its success. The post-surgery recovery period is filled with physical therapy, stretching, and gradual resumption of normal activities, all guided by the surgeon's advice and the patient's own healing progress. Here, we will delve deeper into the healing timeline to better understand what patients can expect at each stage.

The Early Recovery Phase: Physical Therapy and Regaining Basic Mobility

In the early stages after leg lengthening surgery, patients will engage in a dedicated program of physical therapy and perform stretching exercises on their own, as recommended by their healthcare provider. These activities are crucial for regaining strength and flexibility in the affected limbs. It's important to note that these exercises are not designed to be strenuous or overly taxing, but rather, they're intended to promote healthy blood flow and facilitate the body's natural healing processes.

Walking comfortably without any aid is usually achievable within 2 to 4 months after the distraction phase is over. This milestone is a testament to the body's remarkable capacity to heal and adapt, as well as the efficacy of the physical therapy and stretching regimen.

Achieving Bone Union: When will I regain my full mobility?

The restoration of full mobility depends on a process known as a bone union, a term used to describe the healing process and growth of new bone tissue in the area where the surgery was performed. The full bone union is typically achieved 9 - 12 months after the main surgery. It's important to remember that the timeline for bone union can vary depending on individual circumstances, including the patient's overall health, the specifics of their surgery, and how diligently they follow their post-operative care plan.

A Gradual Return to Sports: Proceeding with Caution and Supervision 

Can You Do Sports after Limb Lengthening Surgery?

Reintroducing sports into a patient's lifestyle following limb-lengthening surgery is a gradual process that requires patience and careful monitoring. We generally advise patients to wait a minimum of 6-8 months after the distraction period has ended before attempting to play sports again. This timeline allows the body ample time to heal and helps reduce the risk of injury.

Remember, resuming sports should only be attempted under the supervision of a medical professional. Between 8 months to a year post-surgery, patients can slowly start reintegrating exercise or sports into their routine, but they should always get the doctor’s approval first.

Ensuring Safe Progression: The Role of X-ray Evaluations

To ensure patients are healing well and it's safe for them to resume sporting activities, they should undergo an X-ray evaluation a year after the surgery. This evaluation serves as a critical checkpoint to confirm that bone union has occurred and that the new bone is strong and healthy.

Patients can undergo this evaluation at the hospital or remotely by mailing the X-Ray results to the doctor, to our doctor Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yunus Öç if you chose to have your limb lengthening surgery with us. Once the doctor has reviewed the images and confirmed bone union, they will provide their approval for the patient to return to sports. This final step reaffirms the importance of a well-supervised and careful recovery process following limb-lengthening surgery.

Playing Professional Sports after Limb-Lengthening

For those who aspire to return to professional sports or dancing, the timeline is slightly extended. It is generally advised that such individuals can restart these intense activities approximately 1 to 1.5 years after the surgery. But of course, the patient can do these sports easily after they have regained their mobility range and flexibility, limb-lengthening won’t affect their athletic abilities permanently if they work hard afterward to regain it. 

Our medical team recommends starting professional sports only after this procedure has been completed and the bone union has been confirmed. This caution is due to the increased weight and stress professional sports or dances place on the legs, which might compromise the screws holding the nails and potentially cause breakage.

A Professional Athlete's Limb-Lengthening Surgery Success Story: Reyhan Polat's Triumph

Reyhan Polat's story serves as an inspiring testament to the potential for a successful sports career following limb-lengthening surgery. The account of her journey illuminates the path from challenging medical conditions through life-altering surgery to the pinnacle of athletic achievement.

Overcoming the Odds: Reyhan Polat's Early Life and Diagnosis

Born with a congenital health issue called Achondroplasia, a form of short-limbed dwarfism, Polat faced significant obstacles from an early age. This condition resulted in her having a significantly shorter stature than her peers, affecting her daily life and, crucially, her potential participation in sports. At the young age of 12, Polat made a brave decision to undergo not one, but two limb-lengthening surgeries in a bid to increase her height.

These surgeries were successful, and despite the discomfort and lengthy recovery process, Polat's height increased to 134 cm. It was an arduous journey that required strength, patience, and resilience, but it laid the foundation for her future achievements.

From Recovery to Athletic Pursuit: Entering the World of Professional Weightlifting

Following her surgeries, Polat did not just focus on recovery; she set her sights on the world of professional sports. At 25, despite the challenges she had faced, Polat decided to enter the demanding and competitive world of professional weightlifting. This decision marked a new chapter in her life, one that would test her physical capabilities and mental fortitude.

Her early years in the sport were marked by hard work and dedication. She trained rigorously, never losing sight of her goals even when the going got tough. Her steadfast commitment saw her steadily rise through the ranks, outperforming many of her peers who didn't share her medical history.

A Celebrated Champion: Polat's Remarkable Sporting Success

Now, at the age of 29, Polat has proven beyond doubt that limb-lengthening surgery is no obstacle to athletic success. She has celebrated significant victories, coming first in the Turkey championship and second in the European championship. These accolades are not just a testament to her talent as an athlete, but also a testament to her determination, resilience, and spirit.

Polat's journey illustrates that a healthy recovery process post-limb-lengthening surgery, coupled with relentless determination, can indeed lead to a successful athletic career. Her story stands as an inspiration for all those facing similar challenges, showing that with the right mindset and appropriate medical care, the sky is the limit.

In conclusion, yes, you can do sports after limb lengthening surgery and even become a professional athlete too! With Turkey's first and most experienced limb-lengthening surgery facility Wanna Be Taller, you'll be in good hands. We specifically care about our patient's recovery process and provide every service our patients need during their recovery. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can a person run after limb lengthening surgery?     
    Yes, a person can run after limb lengthening surgery. However, this ability is not immediate and depends on the person's recovery process. It generally takes about 6-8 months after the distraction phase for a person to begin light exercise, including jogging. Running more competitively may take 1-1.5 years.
  2. Can you play soccer after limb lengthening?     
    Yes, it's possible to play soccer after undergoing limb-lengthening surgery. Soccer is a high-impact sport that requires considerable agility and strength, so it's important to have fully healed and regained mobility before returning to the game. Typically, a patient can start reintroducing such sports into their routine between 8 months to 1-year post-surgery, but this should only be done with the doctor’s approval.
  3. Can you do martial arts after limb lengthening?     
    Yes, you can do martial arts after limb lengthening. Martial arts often involve complex movements and high-impact actions, so it's essential to wait until your body has fully healed from the surgery. Generally, patients can resume such activities about 1-1.5 years post-surgery, but only with the explicit approval of their doctor.
  4. Can you dance after leg lengthening surgery?     
    Yes, you can dance after leg lengthening surgery. Dancing can put considerable strain on the legs, so it's crucial to allow enough time for complete recovery and bone union.

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WannaBeTaller AI Assistant X

Hello, I am the world's first limb lengthening surgery assistant, created by the first limb lengthening facility in Turkey (Wanna Be Taller). Feel free to ask me anything about limb lengthening surgery.

This conversation is being conducted with an artificial intelligence model. The responses provided by the artificial intelligence are intended for general informational purposes and are not legally binding. To obtain precise information, please contact the patient consultant.