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Exercising after Foot Surgery

Jan 20, 2015

Foot surgery can cause you to miss your usual workouts for weeks or even months. You rely heavily on your feet to walk, get you from place to place, and complete your everyday activities, so recovery can be difficult. Luckily, there are some great exercises that you can do to stay fit and strengthen your foot after surgery.

It’s important to allow an adequate amount of time (at least a week or two) for your foot to start to heal before putting it through exercises. Make sure your doctor instructs you on when you can begin light exercises again to be certain. If you don’t let your foot recover after surgery, you can cause even more damage.


Stretching is a great activity to do when you’re recovering from foot surgery. This can be done immediately after surgery, just take care that you’re not putting weight on your foot. You can stretch most of your body parts by avoiding your foot altogether. These stretches will help your flexibility and you can also work in some strengthening stretches to incorporate your muscles.


Yoga is another exercise that you can jump right into after surgery. Some exercises should be modified to avoid placing too much pressure on the foot. Yoga and Pilates promote strength and flexibility, while also getting your heartrate up and improving circulation.

These exercises place an emphasis on core strength, balance, and mind and body control, so you’ll be able to get a total workout in without reinjuring your foot.


It’s important to avoid the water if you’re wearing a cast or your incisions have not fully healed. Aside from those two red flags, swimming is a great way to get aerobic exercise without putting any weight on your foot. You can also use a pull buoy, a tool to put in between your legs to prevent you from kicking your legs in the water.

Swimming will allow you to get your blood flowing and your heart pumping quickly, and you’ll be able to use the water resistance to build muscle tone.

Exercise Bike

Incorporating an exercise bike into your workout after you’ve recovered for a few weeks can be a great way to start strengthening your foot. When you cycle on an exercise bike, only a small portion of your body weight is transferred to your foot and ankle. It’s also a great way to elevate your heart rate and start incorporating cardio back into your workout.

While getting back into exercising after foot surgery is healthy, reinjuring your foot will be painful and you’ll want to avoid that scenario at all costs. If at any point during your workout you’re experiencing pain, it’s important that you stop immediately. Avoid doing that particular exercise again or give yourself a few more days of rest.

If you recently had foot surgery, these low-intensity exercises will allow you to reap the benefits of working out, while also keeping your foot protected.

For more information about foot and ankle pain, download our e-book, Pains and Sprains: A Complete Guide to Foot Injuries and Disorders. This educational guide will provide you with everything you need to know when dealing with a painful foot or ankle injury, condition, or disorder.