Orthopedic surgery is performed as an invasive intervention to decrease pain and improve function following a severe injury or when other conservative measures have not returned desired functional level. Orthopedic surgery can be performed for most joints and muscles in the body but should be utilized only when indicated and/or when more conservative measures have been tried first.
Most surgeons will recommend physical therapy following orthopedic surgeries. Before having surgery you should ask your surgeon if physical therapy is going to be ordered after surgery or if it could be prescribed to help the recovery process following surgery.
In some cases, your surgeon may recommend doing PT before surgery to help improve strength and range of motion to your highest ability to have better outcomes after surgery. Your prior level of function is a huge indicator of overall outcomes and success following surgery.
There are several different types of orthopedic surgery that physical therapy can help with including but not limited to: Rotator Cuff Repair, Shoulder Labrum Repair (SLAP), Shoulder Replacement, Shoulder ORIF following a fracture, Biceps Tenodesis, Total Hip Replacement, Total Knee Replacement / Hemi Knee Replacement, Knee Meniscus Debridement/Repair, ACL Reconstruction, Ankle Reconstruction following a fracture, and many others!
This surgical intervention is indicated if you have a tear in one of the rotator cuff muscles and is one of the most common shoulder surgeries performed. This usually presents itself in severe limitations in the ability to perform daily tasks using your arm due to extreme pain, weakness, and loss of range of motion. An MRI is typically utilized to confirm whether the muscle is torn. Physical therapy following rotator cuff repair is very important to regain full potential return following the surgery.
This surgical intervention is indicated if degenerative changes have progressed severely and conservative treatments are no longer effective in the management of the symptoms at the hip. It is the most common hip surgery, in which, the surfaces of the hip joint are replaced with artificial components to allow for pain-free weight bearing at the hip joint. Most patients start outpatient physical therapy a few days following surgery with a focus on improving gait mechanics and strength in the hip musculature for full return following surgery.
This surgical intervention is indicated if degenerative changes have progressed severely and conservative treatments are no longer effective in the management of the symptoms at the knee. It is the most common knee surgery, in which, the surfaces of the knee joint are replaced with artificial components to allow for pain-free weight bearing at the knee joint. Most patients start outpatient physical therapy a few days following surgery with a focus on improving range of motion and strength and the knee to allow for full return following surgery.
This is a common surgical intervention for the younger, athletic population following a sport-related injury where the anterior cruciate ligament was torn. Surgical intervention is indicated for high-grade tears and the athletic population for a safe return to sport and for proper stability at the knee to be achieved. Patients typically start physical therapy a few days following ACL reconstruction focusing on the range of motion and strength with an eventual return to sports activity and progression.
Ask one of our physical therapists if physical therapy would be appropritae for you following surgery.
Total joint replacement involves a surgical procedure to replace a joint of the body with an articial joint or prosthesis.
More Information on Total Joint Replacement
Total joint repair involves using techniques to regrow or supplement cartilage growth to repair joint and cartilage damage instead of having to do a total joint replacement.
More Information on Total Joint Repair
Arthroscopic surgery is a less invasive surgical option to evaluate, visualize, and treat joint injuries.
More Information on Arthroscopic Joint Repair
Physical therapy can help healing rates and safely progress through the rehab process with guided education, manual therapy, and exercise. Physical therapy is highly beneficial for patients following all orthopedic surgeries. This is even more so true for patients that tried physical therapy before surgery as they will need guided structure in their rehab process.
Most surgeons will provide the patient and the physical therapist with a surgical protocol to follow so progressions are made appropriately. We want to make sure you are meeting a guided range of motion and strength milestones for the best outcomes. This is where physical therapy performed after surgery typically has better outcomes following patients who do not do physical therapy following surgery.
Always ask your physician or surgeon if physical therapy is an option if it has not been attempted at this point. Many general pain complaints have great outcomes with conservative interventions of physical therapy to address any strength or mobility deficits. Painful conditions such as meniscus tears, knee osteoarthritis, rotator cuff tears, and degenerative disc disease have been shown to have the same effectiveness and in some cases, better effectiveness with physical therapy compared to surgery. Physical therapy is less invasive and less expensive than orthopedic surgeries.