The healing process after limb lengthening surgery is painful and takes quite some time. During the decision stage for their surgery, most of our patients ask when they can start doing exercises again and if they can do sports competitively. In this article, we will answer all of your questions and give an example as well.
During the healing process after limb-lengthening surgery, the patient continues receiving physical therapy and stretching by themselves for as long as recommended and can commence walking comfortably without any aid 2 to 3 months after the surgery. However, for the patient to regain full mobility range, the bone union is needed, which takes 6 months after the surgery.
Generally, we recommend our patients to stay away from sports for a minimum of 6-8 months once the distraction period is over. Patients can slowly start exercising or playing sports after 8 months to 1 year but they need to get the doctor’s approval first.
1 year after the surgery, the patient should either come to the hospital and get an X-ray of their legs or mail the X-Ray results to the doctor. If there is bone union, the doctor gives their approval to the patient for them to go back to sports.
Especially people that play professional sports or do dancing can go back to these activities for 1 to 1.5 years after the surgery and the doctor’s approval is much needed. 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.
In addition, people that are going to do sports professionally after the surgery can wait to have their intramedullary nail removal surgery. Our doctor recommends patients start doing professional sports after they have their intramedullary nail removal surgery and they have their bone union. Because, when doing professional sports or dances, the person gives their weight too much on the legs, which might loosen the screws that hold the nails and it might get broken.
The best example to give about doing professional sports after limb-lengthening surgery would be Reyhan Polat. Reyhan Polat had a congenital health issue called Achondroplasia, which caused her to have a really short height. For this reason, she had 2 limb-lengthening surgeries when she was 12 and became 134 cm in height. She started doing professional weightlifting when she was 25 and now, at the age of 29, she came first in the Turkey championship and second in the European championship. This proves that if the limb-lengthening process is spent healthily, you can become an athlete after limb-lengthening and a successful one too.
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