Surgery: mental and physical preparation


Surgery…SURGERY? Me? Really…still trying to get to grips with it.

It has been an absolute whirlwind the past two weeks. Ultrasound showed I have a Completely Detached common hamstring tendon. Consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon. Booked in for a hip arthroscopy and hamstring tendon repair in three sleeps time.

Did I mention that one of the surgeon’s comments is

This is not a common injury

I have been a physio for 15 years. I have not treated someone with a detached hamstring tendon (that I am aware of) or a repaired one. So, on the positive side, I am going to be really great at rehabilitating anyone with hamstring injuries! The surgeon said that the tendon would repair itself with time. However, it may not have the performance that it used to have. I asked him to see me as one of his elite athletes, what would his answer be.


It will most likely perform better, have an improved outcome and less likely to re – tear.

Surgery it is then.

Surgery: Mental and Physical preparation

Mental Preparation

I have never had surgery before. As a physio I have rehabilitated a large number of patients pre – and post – surgery. I know what happens. I have been in surgeries observing what happens. But I have not been the patient.

How does one mentally prepare for surgery?

How can you help a friend or family member prepare?

Firstly, I needed to know that surgery was the best way forward after looking at my options. I have tried over 5 months of rehabilitation, with pain and discomfort in my running, and seemingly little progression. I needed a different result, so needed to try another approach.

Secondly, I have an awesome support system. Family. Friends. Tell them how you feel. Let them listen. Maybe let them advise. Allow them to help and offer meals, sympathy or crutches! It helps to talk things through.

Thirdly, accept that surgery is needed, and focus attention on moving forwards. My new physio practice, Active Physio, has kept me pretty busy and been a welcomed distraction. I am also entering the Trail Magazine’s Trail Film competition, and have been working hard to complete my video.

Surgery: mental and physical preparation

Physical Preparation

Do all your paperwork.

Ask questions about the surgery – how long, what to bring, recovery time, expected discharge to plan travel arrangements.

If you need crutches organise these before hand and bring them with you to the hospital. You can make them the correct height (standing with hands at your side, place the crutch next to you and your wrist should be in line with the handle – ask the physio in hospital to help you out too), label them, and save yourself some money.

Pack your hospital bag early – overnight comfy clothes and toiletries. Some reading material. Earphones. Snacks – very important!

Set a reminder not to eat and drink before hand.

Set double alarm to get up early and allow for travel time to the hospital.


This is a first for me. I am nervous, despite all the mental and physical preparation. And that is ok. That’s normal. Any other advice you can share with me before I go under the knife?

See you on the other side!