Will I Be Able To Run After Limb Lengthening Surgery?
Surgery | Written by Joshua Leaf | Updated on March 17, 2022
Many lengthening candidates wonder when or if they will be able to run post-surgery. The good news is that one can expect to run a few months afterwards (6-12+ months).
However, some patients claim a change in athletic abilities from biomechanics, stiff joints, or tight muscles. Below we’ll discuss how soon a lengthening patient can run again, what factors affect when they can run again, and how running might differ after leg (limb) lengthening.
How Soon Can I Run After Limb Lengthening
Ultimately, patients can run once the lengthened bones are fully consolidated and with their doctor’s approval (6-12+ months). Still, there are countless variables to consider so this amount isn’t concrete.
Post Surgery Factors That Will Influence When Patients Can Run
As some say, some things are within your control and some things you can’t do anything about. If getting back to running is important, focus on things within your control and trust the process.
With that being said, weigh out the pros and cons of the bullet points below to figure out the best approach to your lengthening journey.
- Method or fixation device used (LON, LATN, STRYDE, PRECICE, etc.)
- Segments lengthened (femur, tibia, or both)
- Amount lengthened
- The severity of atrophy or muscle loss
- Physical therapy intensity and frequency
- Biological differences between individuals
Note, the recovery of PRECICE STRYDE is usually fastest, but this particular nail was voluntary taken off the market in 2021.
Factors within the patient’s control include but are not limited to: method, segments, amount, and physical therapy.
After Consolidation, Will I Be Able to Run as Fast As Before?
Some patients have reported an improvement in running ability after leg lengthening surgery, but most patients report a decrease in their mile times or running feel. Again, no person is the same, and there are several reasons for a change in athletic ability, one being a change in biomechanics.
If a patient goes outside of the acceptable range or femur to tibia ratios, they may feel their shins are too long to run properly. Sure, they can still run, but if it feels odd, then that’s definitely a deterrent. Of course, if a patient initially lengthens their femurs and running feels weird due to proportions, they can go back for tibia lengthening if the doctor believe it can help.
Another being how tight or inhibited they are. Patients who don’t take physical therapy seriously will inevitably have a difficult time getting back to 100% or near it.
Just like working or driving after limb lengthening, everyone’s journey is different and not one person will heal, or be able to run in the same amount of time. After a successful height increasing surgery, patients can expect to run again or even enter marathons, but they may not be an Olympian afterward.
If patients want to have a speedy and successful recovery, it’s crucial to focus on physical therapy to stretch and strengthen their legs. Always be sure to consult with your surgeon if you have any concerns, complications or if your biomechanics seem off.