Falls Risk Post-Surgery

After highly invasive surgeries, there are many different life adjustments necessary for optimal recovery. Your body will be adjusting to loss of blood which reduces the rate of oxygen to your entire body. Pain and weakness will also play a huge factor in mobility. Mobility will be especially difficult because of the traumatic stress your body is undergoing.
People going through orthopedic surgeries have higher likelihood of falls due to increased medication, pain, weakness, fatigue, and other complications from surgery. If you had a fall prior to surgery, the risk is increased. There are many things that you can do to create the safest environment possible for recovery. You can talk to your doctor regarding medication if you have any dizziness or nausea. Because of decreased blood volume in your body, you may also have dizziness when transitioning from laying on the bed to sitting upright. This is called orthostatic hypotension. If this occurs, be sure to stay seated until dizziness subsides before standing up. Weakness occurs secondary to the muscle being cut through during surgery, and also because of the swelling that results from the trauma.
In post orthopedic surgeries such as hip or knee replacement, walking may be difficult or impossible without assistive devices. If you or a loved one are going through a recovery process from a surgery, it is vital to maintain safety while continuing to move around your house. This means removing any throw rugs or objects on the ground that may be a safety hazard. Excessive flights of stairs should be avoided if possible. You may also need to consider moving your bed down to the first floor if stairs are too painful.
With difficulties in mobility, a home physical therapist may be excellent choice for you or your loved one. The home therapist can come to your house directly and make sure you are safe with mobility as well as help strengthen your muscles. After you are discharged from home therapy, outpatient clinics can help you return to your normal lifestyle and hobbies. Your physical therapist will prescribe a personalized treatment plan based on your needs and goals.
-Dr. Lihn Nguyen, PT, DPT