As sports people, we like to feel strong and full of energy, but sometimes life doesn’t work out that way.  Fit people get ill too and sometimes require surgery.

So if you’ve got the bad news and are waiting for your surgery date, a good idea is to develop your recovery plan.  However, this Recovery Plan starts before surgery not after!

Prior to surgery there are a number of areas to look at:

1.  Diet

  • Post-surgery your body will need to be in a position where it can quickly and efficiently heal itself. Now is the time to move to a healthy diet.  Cut out sugars and select proteins and fresh fruit and vegetables.  The aim is to strengthen your immunity, which will be put under stress as a result of the surgery.
  • Vitamin D is also important for immunity – a good Vitamin D supplement is essential. You can get this either in capsule form or as an emulsion.
  • Extra protein is necessary post-surgery for tissue healing. Good sources include fish, eggs, dairy, plant based proteins such as chickpeas, beans, pulses and small amounts of chicken and meat.
  • Surgery can involve damage to the skin. Oily fish (as above) will help, as will a good Omega 3 supplement such as krill oil and of course fresh fruit and vegetables.  Once stitches are out and you have the all-clear, don’t forget Vitamin E for scar tissue.
  • Surgery can also slow the bowels down – fresh fruit and vegetables can contribute the fibre you need to feel back to normal.

2.  Exercise

In the pre-surgery phase it is important to carry out targeted exercise to ensure that you are fit as possible going into surgery.   If you can and pain permitting, target, in particular those areas which will be most affected by the surgery.  In other words, try to build them up in advance.  For example, if it is abdominal surgery, work on your abdominal strength in advance, so that you have some strength to build on post the operation.

Obviously you have to work within pain limits and in consultation with your doctor, but there is usually a way to keep mobility and maintain some strength.  For example, if you need hip surgery, you mightn’t be able to run or walk, but you might be able to do some light exercises in the pool.  Strengthening your muscle and keeping blood flowing to it (within agreed limits) are important in post-recovery.

3.  Mind

We all get worried about surgery, particularly when the consultants run through all the risks involved.  Consider how you are going to manage your head prior to the event.  If you can exercise this will help.  Do NOT go on-line to research your surgery – most of what you read will be irrelevant and some will not even be true.

DO research support groups you can contact post-surgery.  If you are active and exercise, find groups of similar people.  Like you they’ll have a goal to get back to fitness as soon as possible.  You can learn by what they’ve done.

4.  Rest

Get plenty of rest and sleep.  You’re facing an endurance event and you want to be as fit as possible before you head into it.  For difficulties in sleeping or if you have a restless mind, consider a herbal formula which can really help with anxiety.

5.  Post-surgery Plan

This is where your pre-surgery efforts bear fruit.  Always listen to your doctor.  Nowadays most doctors want you up and moving as soon as possible.

The second thing to listen to is your body.  As sportspeople we often have a tendency to push hard.  It is important in those first few weeks not to push too hard.  The body needs energy to repair and diverting this away from the task will slow your recovery.

There are many herbs and homeopathic remedies which you can take to help recovery – reducing inflammation, repairing tissue, building strength and immunity.  A number of herbs we use at the Clinic have been researched in post-surgery situations.

If you are facing into surgery, come and talk to us beforehand.  We’ll help you develop your pre- and post-surgery plan and work with you in returning to good health.  Email:


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