Nutritional Advice for Patients Undergoing Musculoskeletal Surgery.

Miss Charlotte Barker
MSK Associate
Published at: 24/11/2023

Nutritional Advice for Patients Undergoing Musculoskeletal Surgery.


For patients preparing for musculoskeletal surgery, such as those involving the knees or hips, a well-planned nutritional strategy is essential. Nutrition plays a significant role in enhancing recovery, minimising complications, and supporting regenerative processes post-surgery.

The Role of Nutrition in Surgical Recovery

Nutrition is a key component in surgical recovery. Proper nourishment aids in wound healing, reduces the risk of infection, and supports the overall immune system. For orthopaedic surgeries, particularly those involving joint replacement or regeneration, the right nutrients can assist in bone healing and cartilage repair.

Key Nutrients for Musculoskeletal Health

  1. Protein: Essential for tissue repair and muscle strength. Include lean meats, fish, dairy, beans, and legumes in your diet.
  2. Calcium and Vitamin D: Vital for bone health. Dairy products, leafy greens, fortified foods, and sunlight exposure contribute to these nutrients.
  3. Vitamin C and Zinc: Important for wound healing and immune function. Citrus fruits, berries, nuts, and seeds are great sources.
  4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Beneficial for reducing inflammation. Found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
  5. Fibre: Essential for maintaining digestive health, particularly when mobility is reduced. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables should be included.
  6. Iron: Crucial for energy levels and preventing anaemia. Red meat, spinach, and iron-fortified cereals are good sources.

Pre-Surgery Nutrition

In the weeks leading up to surgery, focus on a balanced diet rich in the above nutrients. Staying hydrated and maintaining a healthy weight is also important to reduce surgical risks and aid in a smoother recovery.

Post-Surgery Nutrition

After surgery, your nutritional needs may increase, particularly for protein and calories, to aid in healing. Small, frequent meals may be easier to manage if your appetite is reduced. Prioritise protein-rich foods and stay well-hydrated.

Special Considerations

  • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight reduces stress on joints and may improve surgical outcomes.
  • Supplements: Discuss with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements, as some may interfere with surgical procedures or medications.
  • Alcohol and Smoking: Avoid alcohol and smoking as they can impede healing and increase complications.


Adequate nutrition is a cornerstone of successful surgery and recovery. By focusing on a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, patients can significantly improve their outcomes following musculoskeletal surgery.

Consultation and Personalised Advice

Every individual’s needs are different, especially when it comes to surgical recovery. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or a dietitian for personalised nutritional advice tailored to your specific needs and health status.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider for personalised guidance.

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