Walking and running after hernia repair: What to expect

A hernia is a small bulge in your abdomen, thigh, or groin that occurs when an organ pushes through an opening, or weak spot, in the surrounding muscle or tissue. Hernias don’t always require immediate surgery, but they will not go away on their own. Your doctor will probably recommend hernia repair surgery if your hernia is getting bigger or causing you pain.

Following your hernia repair surgery, your actions will play a big role in the speed and comfort of your recovery. Your physician will give you specific recommendations about when you can exercising and walking after open hernia repair. Rehabilitation after hernia repair typically includes walking, gentle stretching, and specific core strengthening exercises as outlined by your doctor. Trying to push yourself to do too much, too fast, can disrupt the healing process and even cause a hernia to return. On the other hand, not enough physical activity can lengthen your recovery time. Below, you’ll learn what to expect in the days and weeks following your hernia repair.

When can I go home after hernia repair surgery?

After your hernia repair surgery, you will be discharged as soon as you are awake and able to walk around on your own. For most people, hernia repair surgery is outpatient, meaning that you will be discharged on the same day as the surgery. You will need someone to drive you home after the procedure. The rest of the day should be spent resting and drinking plenty of fluids.

When can I start walking after open hernia repair?

Resting after surgery is important, but walking after open hernia repair is actually recommended. In the days following your surgery, you can start walking around as soon as you are able. Staying in bed might seem like the more comfortable choice, but getting up and taking a few short walks throughout the day will help you heal faster.

As the days pass and you start to feel stronger, increase the amount of walking that you do each day. This level of physical activity will help increase your circulation and blood flow. When you start walking after open hernia repair, it decreases swelling around the wound and helps the damaged tissue and muscles heal faster. Just make sure to listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself too hard.

After a few days of walking around the house, you might consider walking outside, as long as you have a level area to do so. During this first couple of weeks, you should only walk for as long as you can without straining yourself. It’s also a good idea to bring a friend or family member with you on any outside walks. Your muscles might be a little unsteady in the days following your surgery. It is safest to have someone around in case you need help.

An added benefit of walking after open hernia repair is that it can help relieve any post-surgery constipation. Constipation is a normal side effect of any surgery that requires the use of anesthesia. Your first bowel movement might not happen until a few days after your hernia repair. However, it’s important to avoid straining yourself after your procedure, even to go to the restroom. Your doctor can give you advice on how to make bowel movements easier after hernia repair surgery.

When can I exercise after open hernia repair?

You’re probably wondering when you can exercise after open hernia repair. You can start exercising with caution about three weeks after your hernia repair surgery. In fact, your doctor will probably recommend it to help you heal faster. During this time you can start some light resistance training for your core muscles. Talk to your doctor about which exercises will be best for your specific situation. Repetitive movements and exercises that put a heavy strain on your abdominal muscles should be avoided. If your incision has healed, you can try swimming at this time.

By week three, you should be able to return to work if you haven’t already. However, you will need to avoid heavy lifting for at least another couple of weeks.

You can start some light jogging about a month after your surgery. However, you will still need to be careful not to put too much strain on the muscles around the surgery site. Avoid uneven terrain and long-distance running for another couple of weeks.

At six weeks after your hernia repair surgery, you should be back to your normal activity levels. You will be able to resume non-impact activities and sports, such as biking, baseball, and tennis. Contact sports and strenuous core strengthening exercises should be avoided until twelve weeks after surgery. Your doctor will tell you when you can exercise without restriction after open hernia repair.

Need help paying for your hernia repair surgery?

During each stage of your recovery after hernia repair surgery, you should follow your physician’s recommendations. Avoid movements that cause discomfort and strain around your incision. If you have any questions about your hernia repair surgery, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or get a second opinion.

If you’re worried about paying for your hernia repair surgery, you may have more options than you think. New Choice Health’s Hernia Assistance program can help you find discounts and financing opportunities to lower the cost of your hernia repair surgery. Don’t put off this important surgery because you’re worried about the cost. Use New Choice Health’s Patient Assist program today to find out how to get a fair price for your hernia repair.

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