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Leg rodding surgery exercises and advice

Before your operation

Keep yourself as active and as strong as you can. Carry on doing your normal sports, walking and activities, unless you have been told not to by your doctor or physiotherapist.

Have a go at the exercises in this resource so you know that you can do them and what they feel like. After the operation you might be surprised to find you and your muscles feel weak or tired. This is normal and it will get better.

Talk with your parents and carers to see what every day activities you will need to help you at home and at school.

Some problems you may have after your operation include:

  • walking up and down stairs
  • going to the toilet
  • bathing and showering
  • getting dressed

Talk to your physiotherapist and occupational therapist about what help you might need. They will have an idea of what you can and cannot do after surgery and equipment that is available to help you.

After your operation

When you wake up your leg might be in a cast and it might feel like you cannot move it much. The nurses may have put your leg up onto a pillow to stop it getting too swollen.

Before the physiotherapist arrives, you can start by seeing if you can move a bit and begin using your muscles. If you find it hard or it is painful do not worry this is normal. Try wiggling your toes first.


Make sure you tell your nurse or physiotherapist if you find that moving is too painful. The doctors will make sure there is some medicine for you to ease your pain this will help you feel more comfortable so you can begin moving.


Straight after your surgery your muscles may feel like they do not work properly. Do not worry this is a normal feeling. If you feel nervous or your pain is too much it might make things feel worse. You have to just try your best and the physiotherapists will help you do your exercises if you need help.

Swollen joints

Lower leg rods affect your knee joint and sometimes your ankle.

Thigh bone rods affect your hip and knee joints. These areas of the body will become swollen.

Swollen joints can feel stiff and tight, the exercises will help to stop the joints getting too swollen. The watery stuff in swelling is a normal part of the healing process, but it is sticky. The stickiness can make your knee more stiff and tight, especially if you leave it still for too long. Moving your hips, knees and ankles about 10 times each an hour will help prevent this stiff feeling.


Sometimes the doctor will not know if you need a cast on your leg until they do the operation. You will be asleep in the operation when they decide. This will affect how or if you can do an exercise programme.

You will be given an exercise programme to suit you by the physiotherapist, but if you wake up and your leg is in a cast we will change what exercises are needed.

Getting around

Getting you out of bed might feel a bit hard work because cannot use your arms or legs to help yourself properly. We will help and your parents and carers to find a way of doing this.

If you need to borrow a walking frame or crutches we may be able to lend you some. If you have something already, please bring it with you.

Further resources

Please read our resource for more information about risks of anaesthetics.

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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After you have gone home

If an unexpected problem occurs with the wound when you get home please call Ward 2: 0114 2717392/4

For cast problems call the plaster room: 0114 717538

Continue your exercises – Your hospital physio/OT will write to your local physio/OT to tell them what operation you have had.

Inform school –The teachers may need to do a risk assessment for you to be able to go back into school.

Wheelchair hire – If you don’t have your own wheelchair you can borrow one from your local British Red Cross. Find out at www.redcross.org.uk


tel. 0344 8711111 (textphone: 0207 562 2050)


Western Bank
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

Interesting Facts

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