Find frequently asked questions and information about weight-bearing following geriatric fracture surgery.

Questions to Ask at Rehab

We developed a short list of questions to ask at Rehab to help patients & their families understand Rehab progress.

Frequently Asked Questions about your Recovery

What will I be doing during rehabilitation?

There are many skilled therapists, nurses and clinicians who will work with you daily to help you regain your independence, strength and movement.

A specific plan of care and goals will be determined with you and your family once you are transferred to the rehabilitation hospital.

Who do I contact if I have questions once I get home?

You have a few options:
Phone (7:00 am - 3:00 pm weekdays): Call our fracture liaison nurse practitioner at (617) 697-4806
Email (anytime):
Pager (Emergencies from 3:00 pm - 7:00 am weekdays, all weekends and holidays): (617) 280-9956

When do I see my surgeon again?

Before you leave the hospital, you will be given specific instructions about your scheduled follow-up appointment.

Typically you will have an appointment with your surgeon 2-3 weeks or 6 weeks after your surgery.

Why do I need to perform physical therapy?

To increase your strength. To increase your balance. So you can move around, take care of yourself and enjoy your hobbies

How long do I have to perform physical therapy?

Everyone’s speed of recovery is different and your physical therapist will work with you to determine the optimal amount of exercise you need to reach your goals.

Typically it takes 3 – 6 weeks to regain your strength with physical therapy.

Types of Exercises

Your physical therapist may include in your recovery:

Strengthening Exercises: Simple muscular contractions using your body weight as resistance.
Range-of-Motion Exercises: Helps you to flex and extend your injured joint.
Stabilization Exercises: Helps you restore balance and strength to the muscles surrounding your injury.

When can I put weight on my leg?

Your surgeon will determine when it is safe for you to bear weight on your leg.

How much weight you can put on your leg depends on the type of fracture you sustained.

Putting weight on your injured leg

Placing weight (known as weight bearing), on your injured limb depends on how well your bone is healing and what type of surgery you had. X-rays are used by your orthopedic surgeon to confirm the status of your bone healing. Each fracture is different with different bones and fracture repairs healing at different rates. Your orthopedic surgeon will give you specific instructions regarding when you can safely put weight on your injured limb and how much weight is safe to place on it. Placing weight on your repaired limb before you are cleared to do so may damage it and put you at a higher risk of complications and increase your time to recover.

It is very important to follow the instructions given to you by your orthopedic surgeon, trauma nurse practitioners and physical therapists. Remember if you have any questions about your recovery please ask us to clarify your activity instructions!

Weight bearing as tolerated (WBAT):

When you stand or walk, place as much weight as feels comfortable on your affected leg. Let pain be your guide. If you feel pain, place less weight on the affected leg.

Partial weight bearing (PWB):

When you stand or walk, you may place some amount of weight on your affected leg to help you move while using an assistive device like a cane or walker. Exactly how much weight you can support will be specified by your surgeon and how to support your weight will be shown to you by your physical therapist.

Touch-down weight bearing (TDWB):

When you stand or walk, you may put your foot down to touch the floor only for balance. Do not place actual weight on your affected leg.

Non-weight bearing (NWB):

Place no weight on your affected leg. Do not touch the floor with your affected leg. While you stand or walk, you must hold your affected leg off the floor.