Walk Slow or Walk Fast?

Q&A –

Should your pet be walking slowly or walking faster after injury or surgery? Science says slow and steady –

Question –

“Dr. *Surgeon* did X-rays and said she is totally healed. He said sometimes the implant can be irritating for her and he can remove that since the bone has healed…could be the reason for some of her discomfort. He also said slow walking is more painful for her and she should go at a faster pace. What do you think???”

Answer –

Yes, walking slower is more painful because she is having to use the injured limb more.

She has to use the injured limb more for good recovery.

It is also painful when the pet is not receiving enough pain medication to go along with a proper home rehabilitation plan.

She needs to use her leg for full healing.

If your pet is going fast, they are usually skipping over using the injured body part, whether you think you see them doing that or not. If they don’t use the painful body part, they won’t grow bone & muscle as well or much at all, and they won’t heal as well. They cheat on leg use when they go fast after injury or surgery and if they are in pain, which they most often are in my experience.

Pets don’t use the affected muscles & limbs like they should for better development and recovery when they are in pain. Proper dosing of pain medicine goes a long way toward encouraging healing and making the system work better.

I do not agree that she should walk faster; it defies sports medicine principles and the principles of functional recovery and rehabilitation to have her walk faster now. A slow return to positive function will most likely insure against added injury.

Here is a booklet to help after surgery or with most basic recovery for the first four weeks. Real rehab should be progressive and will last at least 12 weeks on average. Persistent problem cases may take up to a year or more to heal more fully. This is the same as in human medicine. 


Published August 13, 2011. Updated May 3, 2018

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