Resources

Balance Retraining Exercises

The main complaint postoperatively is fatigue. Others experience symptoms such as dizziness, light-headedness, unsteadiness and/or disequilibrium.

It is important to realize that balance improves slowly over time - in fact it may take two to six months and sometimes up to a year for full recovery. Depth perception and focusing mechanisms may be impaired initially and cause disequilibrium.

The following rehabilitation program is offered only as a guide, because individuals vary considerably. For a more personalized program, be sure to contact your physiotherapist.

The purpose of balance retraining exercises is to force the patient to develop strategies for performing activities in their daily life.

When performing these exercises, take extra precautions to ensure that you do not fall, ie., hold onto a chair or other support. Initially you should do these with a partner. Perform each exercise twice a day as tolerated.

Exercises

  1. Standing with feet as close together as possible, turn your head to the right and to the left horizontally while looking ahead at a visual target. These are small head movements - it is not necessary to move your head as far as it can go. Do this for one minute without stopping, then try again with your feet even closer together.

  2. On a flat surface, rock back and forth about the ankle without bending at the hip, for thirty seconds. Repeat the exercise for another thirty seconds with your eyes closed.

  3. On a compressible surface (like carpets or pillows) attempt again to rock back and forth about the ankle without bending at the hip.

  4. In a corner, practice standing on one foot. Attempt this first with eyes open for thirty seconds, then with eyes closed. Remember to switch feet and repeat the same exercise.

  5. Practice turning your head while walking. Begin by walking close to a wall.

  6. Practice turning around when you walk. Begin with large circles, then smaller ones. Make sure you turn in both directions.