Open a PDF version to print this topic

HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

Non-weight-bearing

Because of your injury, your doctor has asked that you remain non-weight-bearing on the affected leg for a time to allow it to heal.

This means that you can't put any body weight on that leg and will need to hop, with the support of a mobility aid.

It's very important to follow this advice, as putting any weight on your leg can mean you don't recover well. You may even need another operation to fix problems caused by putting weight on your leg too soon.

The physiotherapist will help you to move safely and will advise you about how this will affect your lifestyle.

At first, it's important for you to raise your leg to control swelling, decrease pain and encourage wound healing. This can be done lying on a bed, couch or chair with your leg raised.

Stairs and steps

Make sure that you take the stairs slowly.

If you feel nervous, have someone stand close by.

Remember that the crutches always stay with the sore leg.

 

 

Exercises

To make sure you heal as well as possible, it's important to keep your leg muscles strong while you're non-weight-bearing.

This is so that when your doctor tells you to begin weight bearing, your muscles are ready and can adjust quickly.

Do these exercises four times day, repeating each exercise 10 times. These exercises may be a bit uncomfortable, but if you get any specific pain, you should stop the exercise.

Static quad

  • Squash your knee hard down into the bed.
  • Hold for 10 seconds, then relax.

Wedge quads

  • Use a wedge or pillow under your knee.
  • Push your knee down and lift your heel off the bed.
  • Hold for 10 seconds, then relax.

Straight leg lift

  • Brace your knee onto the bed, hold your leg straight and lift it 10 cm off the bed.
  • Hold for 10 seconds, then relax.

Hamstrings

  • Bend your knee up towards your bottom then straighten it slowly.

Buttocks

  • Bend your knee up at a right angle.
  • Lift your thigh off bed.
  • Hold for 10 seconds, then relax.

Side leg muscles

  • Lift your leg up, keeping your knee straight.
  • Lower slowly.

Calf stretch

  • Sitting with your legs straight, put a towel or a sheet around your foot.
  • Pull your foot towards you until you feel a stretch in your calf muscle.
  • Hold for 15 seconds.

Rehabilitation

As your injury heals, your doctor will tell you when you can put weight on your leg again. Please ask the staff at the clinic for advice about these changes.

The medical staff may refer you to physiotherapy to help with your rehabilitation.

If you have any problems with getting full movement back, difficulty with walking, running, cycling or on-going weakness, then physiotherapy will help.

If you feel you would benefit from physiotherapy, make an appointment to see a physiotherapist. You don't need a referral to see a private physiotherapist. But you'll need a doctor's referral for treatment at the West Coast DHB Physiotherapy Department.

Equipment

If you see a hospital physiotherapist, any equipment they provide is supplied for six weeks. After this, ACC is responsible for providing any necessary equipment. Contact your ACC case manager if you need equipment after the first six weeks.

Wheelchairs and scooters

The hospital doesn't provide mobility aids like wheelchairs or knee scooters for your personal use. If you need one for any reason (short or long-term) you can hire them from:

Taxi vouchers

Staff at CCS Disability Action can do assessments and issue Total Mobility taxi vouchers, on behalf of the local regional councils. They can visit you in your own home to do the assessment. There's a cost for the assessment.

You can get application forms from CCS Disability Action at the following addresses:

Information provided by the Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed February 2020.

Sources

Page reference: 232317

Review key: HILWI-174362