Prehab – What is it and why do you need it?

Published: 01 Jul 2023

Prehab – What is it and why do you need it?

Preparing for surgery involves more than just scheduling the procedure. It’s about taking proactive steps to optimise physical function and enhance post-operative recovery. That’s where prehabilitation comes in. This growing practice focuses on the power of physiotherapy to prepare individuals physically and mentally before surgery.

Understanding Prehabilitation:

Prehabilitation is a proactive approach to healthcare that emphasizes exercise, education, and lifestyle modifications prior to surgery. By engaging in prehabilitation, individuals can minimize the impact of surgery and expedite their recovery process. It’s all about setting the stage for success before even stepping into the operating room.

The Role of Physiotherapy:

Physiotherapists are key players in the prehabilitation process. They assess individuals, taking into account their specific surgical needs and overall health status. Based on this evaluation, they design personalised exercise programs that target specific areas and prepare the body for the upcoming procedure. Additionally, physiotherapists provide invaluable education on postoperative expectations, pain management techniques, mobility strategies, and lifestyle adjustments. In some cases, prehabilitation may also include respiratory training to enhance lung function, and manual therapy to support effective movement.

Strengthening exercise is an important part of prehabilitation. Here Kaelin provides feedback to ensure movements are effective.

Benefits of Prehabilitation:

Engaging in prehabilitation with the guidance of a skilled physiotherapist brings a multitude of benefits, including:

  1. Improved Surgical Outcomes: Prehabilitation helps optimise physical function, reducing the risk of complications during and after surgery. It sets the foundation for a smoother and more successful surgical experience.
  2. Faster Recovery: By strengthening the body and enhancing overall fitness levels prior to surgery, individuals are better equipped to bounce back quickly. Prehabilitation can help speed up the recovery process, getting individuals back to their normal activities sooner.
  3. Enhanced Postoperative Mobility: Prehabilitation exercises focus on improving range of motion, flexibility, and functional abilities. This leads to improved mobility and independence after surgery, allowing individuals to regain their quality of life faster.
  4. Reduced Pain: Prehabilitation helps individuals build resilience and strengthen the muscles surrounding the surgical area. This can lead to reduced postoperative pain and discomfort, enabling a more comfortable recovery period.
  5. Increased Confidence: Prehabilitation empowers individuals by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and physical preparedness they need to actively participate in their healthcare journey. This increased confidence positively impacts their overall experience and recovery process.

Physiotherapy prehabilitation is a game-changer in the world of surgical preparation. By engaging in tailored exercises and receiving valuable education, individuals can optimise their physical function, improve surgical outcomes, and enhance their overall recovery.

Don’t just wait for surgery—take an active role in your healthcare journey through prehabilitation with the guidance of a skilled physiotherapist.

Your body and mind will thank you!

If you are considering knee surgery – our Healthy Knees Program can be an effective prehab program.  Learn more about that here.


It is essential to consult with your healthcare provider or a qualified physiotherapist before starting any prehabilitation program to ensure its suitability for your specific needs.