Is Post-Operative Discomfort Giving You Sleepless Nights?

After undergoing orthopedic surgery, you may expect an active lifestyle. However, returning to an active lifestyle would require some time. Participating actively in the healing process can help you recover sooner.1 Discussing the post-operative care guidelines with your orthopedic surgeon can help you with your recovery process.

Here are a few guidelines to help you take care of yourself after orthopedic surgery:

A man sitting with a plastered leg

Dressing/Bandage, Cast, Or Sling:2

  • Keep your dressing or casts clean and dry. 
  • Do not soak your operated limb in the water. While bathing, cover the cast with a bag or opt for a sponge bath till the wound heals. 
  • Do not actively move the operated limb unless the doctor instructs so. 
Female sitting with a plastered leg


  • It is normal to have some swelling post-surgery. 
  • Keep your operated limb elevated for the first 24 to 72 hours to reduce swelling. 
  • Applying ice a few times can reduce swelling and pain.
  • Move your uninjured fingers and toes gently to avoid joint stiffness.
Patient taking capsules/medicines

Pain Management:3

  • Doctors may prescribe painkillers to reduce pain post-surgery. 
  • Several medications, such as opioids, ornon-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help control pain.
  • Alternative approach, such as acupuncture, is increasingly used to supplement the usual standard medicines.
Physiotherapist helping a patient to lift an arm

Physical Exercise:4

  • Regular exercise can help restore strength and movement.
  • The doctor may recommend 20-30 minutes of exercise during the early phase. 
  • Exercising on a regular basis can help you recover completely. However, it’s essential to consult your orthopedic doctor before performing any exercise.
Physiotherapist helping a patient walk

Walking (Ambulation):

  • Walking is an excellent option in the middle stages of your recovery (2 weeks after surgery).4
  • Early walking can also improve knee function and reduce the incidence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). 5 
  • (DVT is a condition in which blood clots develop in deep veins present in the body, usually in a leg.6