Physiotherapy during Tibial Lengthening

What will it feel like?

It will take a few days to get used to the feeling of having a frame on your leg. It may feel a little hard to move your leg initially after the surgery and you may need some help.  As you get used to the feeling of having the frame on your leg, you will be able to use your own muscles to move your leg without any help.

How will I walk after I get the frame on?

The physiotherapist in the hospital will help you to get out of bed and show you how you can walk. Initially you might use a walking frame to help you, and then progress onto crutches. Your surgeon will tell you when you can start taking some weight through your operated leg and  how much. Your physiotherapist will help you to do this.

How should I position my leg?

The position that your leg rests in is very important. 

Whenever you are resting you should have your knee straight. It is ok to practice bending your knee, but then you should straighten it again when resting. This is to make sure that the muscles at the back of your leg stay in a lengthened position and your knee does not get stuck in a bent position.

It is also important to support your toes in a neutral position. This may be done using toe slings, stretchy band or a foot plate. If your toes are not supported they can get stuck in a flexed position.

Initially after surgery it is ideal to have your leg elevated to minimise swelling of your foot and lower leg.

Resting with extended (straight)
Toe splint

Pain relief

It is very important to use the pain medication which is prescribed to you by your doctor. If you don’t use the medication it is difficult to move your leg or position your knee in the ideal position. Some medications (like anti inflammatory medication for example Neurofen) should not be used during limb reconstruction. Always use medications as described by your doctor.

What exercises will I need to do?

During the lengthening/adjusting phase the most important physiotherapy is to ensure that you can straighten your knee and keep your toes flexible. To do this, you will need to practice exercises five times every day.

You will work with your physiotherapist to ensure that you have a good walking pattern and to keep your muscles of your leg strong through out the lengthening process and consolidation phase of limb reconstruction.     

Walking with crutches