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the importance of post-operative physiotherapy
We all know of someone who has had a surgical procedure done before, and many of us have had operations done ourselves.
The estimated number of orthopedic surgeries by 2022 will be 28.3 million surgeries per year. Yikes!
Orthopedic operations include ligament repair of the knee, rotator cuff repairs, management of dislocations, meniscus surgeries, hip scopes as well as total knee and total hip replacements. These are just a few examples - there are plenty more.
The real recovery starts when you go home from the hospital, and it often takes hard work and weeks to months of post-operative physiotherapy to get you back in fighting form. We work tirelessly to give you the best treatment we can with focus on the following points:
Now we’re all for movement and exercise, but we do also know how important it is for the operation site to rest and recover gradually. This is where activity modification comes in.
We will show you ways of doing your everyday activities while still protecting operated site, including
How to get dressed, which can be a challenge after total hip replacements and shoulder operations.
How to get into and out of cars, which is also difficult for many because most cars are very low and require the hips and knees to bend quite a lot with the help of your arms to get in and out.
Going to the bathroom. An elevated toilet seat may be needed for a short time after total hip replacements to avoid too much flexion of the hip when sitting.
2. Pain control
We know that you’ll have ample pain medication to keep you sorted for the first few days, but after that, some clients tend to struggle with pain management.
Pain after having an operation and while recovering is completely normal, but we know how frustrating and bothersome it can be.
Physiotherapy rehabilitation can help you with pain control using various techniques including gentle range of motion exercises, soft tissue mobilisation, cognitive behavioural therapy and more.
This will also help to prevent chronic pain from occurring.
As physiotherapists, we know when during your recovery to safely progress to strengthening of the involved limb. We also like to be in contact with your doctors which ensures that we’re on the same page when it comes to your post-op physiotherapy.
Strengthening will help prevent muscle loss and atrophy, which will automatically also help to prevent muscle imbalances which can lead to problematic gait/walking and other patterns of movement.
We also make sure that you activate and strengthen not only your global muscle groups but also your local, more stabilising muscle groups to prevent re-injury.
4. Range of Motion
Many people struggle to reach their previous range of motion post-operatively on their own, and that’s another way we can help you.
We find this is especially the case for patients after total knee replacements - it’s painful, stiff and uncomfortable and the last thing you want to do is bend your knee and work on range of motion.
However, with a physiotherapist there to add help and guidance, it reassures the client that it’s safe to work for a bit of extra range.
As with the strengthening, we also know when it’s safe to reach and move through certain ranges of motion.
5. Balance and proprioception
After operations involving joints, there may be a decreased proprioception. This is due to some of the mechanoreceptors (which are responsible for proprioception) which may be removed during the surgical procedure. Take a look at the article here.
The regeneration of these mechanoreceptors can take between 3 and 6 months.
This is why post-operative physiotherapy is so important - we can help you by giving exercises that will help improve your proprioception, and good proprioception means a decreased risk of re-injury.
6. Decreased chance of re-injury
After receiving surgical repair of ligaments and other injured structures, the risk of re-injuring that site is increased.
Returning to sports after an ACL reconstruction increases your chances of re-injury by 3.9 times for the same knee and 5 times for the opposite knee. Article link here.
With a good post-operative physiotherapy plan in place, there will be a decreased chance of re-injury due to the exercises that help improve your strength, stabilisation, range of motion, proprioception and technique.
Receiving post-op physiotherapy not only helps with all of the above-mentioned points, it also helps restore your confidence.
Doing physiotherapy rehab will give you comfort and closure because once you get back into action, you will know that your knee, shoulder or whichever body part it was can handle the activity.
Why? This is because we work on individualised return-to-sport rehabilitation with you, which involves drills and exercise tests that will tell us when you’re ready to get back out there.
The take-away message:
Post-operative physiotherapy is an essential part of recovery after any orthopedic surgical procedure.
We know that it might be hard and challenging, but trying to recover and get back to your base level of functioning will be much harder and less effective on your own.
We’re here to help!
How can we help you?
At Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy our goal is to get you moving pain free as soon as possible.
But, we also want you to actually move better and live a healthier, more active and fulfilling life!
If your sports, fitness training or work has been wearing your body down, book in with one of our expert massage therapists so we can help you reduce your pain or stiffness.
If you are showing some signs of this condition or simply want help prevent this from happening in the future then book in with one of our highly experienced Remedial Massage Therapists today!