upcoming foot surgery and concerns about gaining weight

First of all, I've always been a planner. That said, I need to have some fairly extensive foot surgery which will hopefully, happen after the holidays. I'm one of those people that likes to be moving and gets antsy if I can't work out. The surgery will require me to be non weight bearing for 2.5 months and in a hard cast during that time. After that, I'll be in a walking boot for a month and then will start PT.

Any tips for anyone who has had a similar experience? Since I won't be able to cook for several months, I won't have as much control over my food choices or be able to exercise.

For what it's worth, I'd started upping my strength training in hopes of building more muscle in my arms (for using crutches) and adding in more ab work.

Any suggestions or ideas on how to maintain would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks so much!


  • plattef71
    plattef71 Posts: 22 Member
    I have had 2 major foot surgeries and scheduled for another Nov 5th on my Achilles. I found the important part to my recovery is getting as healthy as I can before it even happens to make sure healing goes quick. Beef up on your supplements for sure. I have a small fridge right next to the bed afterwards where I can keep protein shakes, pre-cut fruits and veggies, deli meat, cheese .. etc. For the first couple of weeks you will have to deal with quite a bit of pain so make sure to keep extremely high fiber foods around because you will get constipated, and that makes it even more miserable ! Do some extensive research on good foods to promote good circulatory health as well as gut. Don't worry so much about the working out part, worry more about just getting through it :)
  • booboo1000
    booboo1000 Posts: 58 Member
    Good luck with your surgery!

    Re the food portion: Feed your freezer with cooked foods, starting weeks before your surgery. I have had good luck freezing well-wrapped cooked chicken, beans, quinoa, and the like.Don't leave it until the last few days as you will have pre-surgery tests and physicals. If you can, measure your foods into separate containers so you have less to do while balancing on crutches. If you don't have anyone to shop for you, look into grocery delivery services so you don't have too easy an excuse for less healthy takeout--it is more expensive than going to the grocery store yourself, and you need someone to bring it into the house, but healthier food. Churches/synagogues/mosques can be very helpful when their community members need help, and perhaps you can arrange for the kinds of foods/shopping you need to maintain during your time off your feet.

    Re the activity portion: can you consult a physical therapist now so you have a couple of months to prepare the right way? Also ask about avoiding pressure sore from being on your rear and your back more than usual.

    Best, Boo
  • mjglantz
    mjglantz Posts: 449 Member
    Wishing you good luck! I didn't have that kind of surgery but did break my ankle and had to be off it for several weeks. I rented a scooter where I could rest my leg and wheel around. I was able to cook that way. When that happened I was in the midst of losing weight and was worried about being still and getting bored and eating. I was able to manage the food and while I didn't lose during the time I didn't gain either.
  • fittocycle
    fittocycle Posts: 821 Member
    Wow! Thanks for all the ideas and support! I really appreciate it. I found a knee scooter at Goodwill to use at home. We have a two story house and our bedroom is upstairs but thankfully, we also have a bonus room upstairs too. I'll be able to scooter down to it and watch tv, which will get me out of bed and up for a while.

    I had planned on cooking and freezing meals but hadn't thought of freezing the meals in the correct portions. Great idea!

    It's good to know that healthy eating now can make a difference in the recovery too!

    Thanks so much!
  • rosebarnalice
    rosebarnalice Posts: 3,485 Member
    Before ankle replacement surgery I stocked the freezer with a variety of portioned casseroles and the pantry with hearty canned soups like split pea that could be a meal. The microwave was my go to!

    My spouse would chop up a simple side salad (lettuce, tomato, cukes & basalmic vinegar).

    Yes, I ate too many "get well" cookies and gained about 6 lbs in the 8 weeks after surgery, and it took about 8 weeks to lose it once I was finally able to get back in the pool and start cooking again.
  • albamarie61
    albamarie61 Posts: 37 Member
    The suggestions here are good. I may be also having ankle surgery early next year. I have a meeting with the surgeon tomorrow and I am going for a second surgery consult with another doc a week later. I am "missing" the ATF ligament and something is causing some pretty severe pain for the past several months (not sure it is related to the missing ligament).

    I am currently in PT and have returned to the pool in hopes of getting stronger before the surgery. The exercises I do at PT are definitely making my other ligaments/muscles stronger and for that I am very happy. One involves using marbles that I try picking up with my toes as I pivot my ankle but keep the knee/leg from moving.

    Best of luck, Fittocycle!
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,639 Member
    Unless you work the rest of your leg you will have a lot of muscle loss.
    You clearly have to wait for the foot PT until given the green light but you should be able to work quads and hamstrings while your foot is immobilised. Get some advice on what you can do in advance.

    I lost 5" of quad circumference while unable to weight bear. The majority of that loss during enforced bed rest, before that very misguided decision by my Doctors I was doing quite well with straight leg lifts at home and working in the physiotheraphy gym doing what I could with a badly damaged knee.

    I hopelessly failed at keeping my weight down because I was bored and depressed which led to comfort eating.
    Stay as active as possible and definitely count your calories as best you can.
    A friend of mine did a lot of swimming with a waterproof cast cover while recovering from a broken ankle.

    On the upside walking on crutches every day built my triceps and traps quite well.
    Shopping is a challenge on crutches, a backpack works though.
    Buying Easter Eggs for the family and trying to carry them in a bag while on two crutches doesn't work at all well. :smiley:
  • acpgee
    acpgee Posts: 6,615 Member
    I've had both knee and ankle surgery, and could work out while recovering by hopping with crutches or a zimmer frame on the good foot around the block. That was a very strenuous cardio workout according to my heart rate monitor. The MFP burn entry for walking on crutches was spot on for me. It was calibrated using an HRM by a pal who is the same height as me who sprained her ankle.
  • tuddy315
    tuddy315 Posts: 9,937 Member
    I am just 7 weeks out of a total knee replacement. Although I did have to use a walker for a few weeks and then transition to a cane, I could not stand for very long. I'm not a huge TV watcher, but I have plenty of books to keep my mind off eating and I got quite a few read!

    Even with the inactivity, I still managed to loose about 2lbs a month. As the first poster noted, constipation may be a big problem; take pills to keep pain at bay, take more pills to make you poop. I'm not a fan of taking pills anyway.
  • fittocycle
    fittocycle Posts: 821 Member
    Thanks so much for taking the time to post. It helps to see what worked for other and what challenges you faced while recovering. I tend to get bored watching TV after very long so I'll have a stack of books ready. Also planning on finishing the binding on a quilt which requires hand sewing.

    I'll see if my doctor will allow some leg lifts during the recovery process. I did find a chair yoga workout that I can do later but other than that, I'll be on my knee scooter and crutches for a workout! :)