Optimising recovery from surgery:

Regardless of what it’s for, surgery can be scary and overwhelming. It is normal to feel a sense of helplessness or feeling as if you don’t have control over the end outcome. However, it is important to understand that you play the single most important role in the outcome of your recovery and it starts long before you meet with your surgeon. Preparing your body and mind for what you are about to encounter is an important aspect of recovery and creates good habits for your post-surgery rehabilitation.


How do you do this, you ask?


We call this Prehab


Prehab is a programme designed to prevent injuries before they actually occur. This can be applied to anyone or any injury however in the context of surgery it is you taking an active approach to prepare yourself physically and mentally for what you are about to go through. It plays a massive part in giving you the power to control the success of your upcoming surgery.


Why should you do Prehab?


Numerous studies have shown that patients who participate in Prehab have significantly better outcomes than those who do not. Those who undergo prehab generally have quicker recovery times, return to sport faster, have less complications and are generally more satisfied with their end outcome.


Does this apply to me?


Prehab is highly recommended for anyone planning to undertake or has been referred for surgery. Research has shown Prehab to be effective in enhancing recovery for patients undergoing total hip and knee replacements, ACL reconstructions, shoulder surgery such as rotator cuff repairs and lower back surgery.



What does it involve and how long for?


Ideally, undergoing 6-12 weeks of Prehab prior to surgery will optimise post-surgical outcomes. In most situations this is not possible due to availability with your surgeon. This does not mean that Prehab won’t help be helpful for you. As they say, something is better than nothing and there are still many meaningful benefits to be gained with only 2 weeks of preparation.


5 reasons to Prehab:


1.     Get control of your pain:


 A prehab program should give you the tools to minimise pain. Reducing pain early will enable normal muscle activity and put you in a good head space leading up to surgery.


2.     Get in optimal physical shape:


Through a specific exercise program, you can improve muscle strength, flexibility, balance and coordination which has shown to optimise and speed up the recovery process post-surgery. Additionally, improving general fitness and wellbeing has many added benefits such as weight loss and improving mental resilience which is extremely important to recovery.



3.     Create good habits and kick the bad habits


Firstly, creating good habits beforehand will make your life so much easier once you have been discharged from hospital. Good habits start with getting in a healthy exercise regime This extends to healthy sleep, nutrition and lifestyle habits which your physiotherapist and health practitioners can guide you on.


Conversely, bad habits will have the opposite effect, so you can imagine the importance in changing these prior to surgery.


4.     Manage anxiety/stress


It is completely normal to feel anxious or stressed prior to surgery. In addition to physically preparing yourself you must also get yourself in the right headspace. Prehab will help mentally prepare you by getting you in a good mindset for the upcoming rehabilitation process. It will also teach you appropriate coping strategies to deal with pain and stress associated with the injury.



5.     Speed up your recovery and reduce post-operative complications


Prehab sets you up for a successful recovery leading to quicker recovery and return to sport times. It also reduces the risk of common complications associated with surgery.



Please feel free to contact our team at East Vic Park Physio on 9361 3777 if you have any questions or would like to find out if Prehab is appropriate for you.

Plantar fasciitis


Plantar fasciitis Is a very common cause of heel pain. It can be quite debilitating and can last for months if not addressed. Typically, pain will be felt on the inside of the heel and arch. Pain can be sharp or achy. There can be a small amount of swelling over the medial heel as well as tenderness to touch. Mornings are worse, with it usually taking anywhere from 2-3 minutes to an hour for the stiffness and pain to reduce.


·         Change in load eg Running/jumping

·         Change in footwear

·         Change in activity surface eg. Hard surface

·         Acute trauma eg. Stepping on a rock


Sometimes your GP will refer you for a scan of the affected area. Most likely it will be an x-ray or an ultrasound. This may show that there are heel spurs or “tears” in the plantar fascia. Although it can be good to confirm the diagnosis, scans can sometimes be detrimental as it may cause people to become worried about their condition. Scan results can also correlate poorly with symptoms an example being that people with heel spurs on x-ray don’t necessarily develop Plantar fasciitis.


·         Soft tissue release

·         Joint mobilisations

·         Taping techniques

·         Orthotics

·         Exercise program (Physiotherapist prescribed)

·         Load management plan (Physiotherapist prescribed)


Load management is about controlling how much you use the particularly area on a day to day basis. Usually when an area becomes painful, its load capacity (ability to tolerate load) is reduced so it becomes overloaded quicker than normal. This means that even normal tasks or activities like walking or standing can cause it to become more painful and swollen. 

One of the ways to improve the capacity is to progressively build up the amount that you use that area. This can be done with a specific structured exercise program (physiotherapist prescribed) that is made more difficult over a period of time. It is normal for rehabilitation to be painful, you cannot improve load tolerance without causing some discomfort.

The best way to monitor improvement is by recording morning pain (rating it out of 10, 10 is worst, 0 is nothing). It is normal to have ongoing morning stiffness even after pain has completely disappeared.


Sometimes Plantar fasciitis might not be the cause of heel or foot pain. It is important to see a physiotherapist to get an accurate diagnosis. Other causes of heel pain are below:

·         Plantar or Calcaneal Nerve pain

·         S1 radiculopathy

·         Stress fracture

·         Tarsal tunnel syndrome

·         Fractures

·         Retrocalcaneal bursitis

·         Spondyloarthropathies

·         Cancer (osteoid osteoma)


·         Try to avoid walking around in bare feet

·         Using ice over the sore area can give temporary relief

·         Stretching it may be uncomfortable so roll a golf ball/tennis ball under the foot instead to release tight muscles

·         Pain relief or anti-inflammatory medication can be helpful but ask your pharmacist for advice

·         See your physiotherapist!



Finals time for most winter sports is fast approaching and from a physiotherapy perspective this is the time of year that we see a spike in sporting injuries. A lot of these injuries tend to be to parts of the body that have some sort of deficit, be it strength, length or control. It is quite hard to be able to identify these areas yourself and even physiotherapists would find it hard to accurate identify these deficits purely through observation.