Importance of PT After Orthopedic Surgery - Newsletter

Importance of Physical Therapy After Orthopedic Surgery

Orthopedic surgery may be indicated following an injury or to treat progressive degenerative changes. Physical therapy can play a key role in helping patients recover from orthopedic surgery and can help to improve successful outcomes of orthopedic surgery.

Physical therapy can play a critical role in helping patients make a full and healthy recovery, which can help patients return to their daily lives and the activities they enjoy most post-surgery. Physical therapy treatments will focus on:

  • Reducing pain and inflammation
  • Improving mobility
  • Improving strength and flexibility
  • Reducing scar tissue buildup
  • Maximizing Function

Learn how physical therapy can help patients recover and get back to doing the things they love after orthopedic surgery.

Reducing Pain and Inflammation

One potential reason some individuals are hesitant to pursue physical therapy after a recent orthopedic surgery is the fear that movement will be painful. On the contrary, movement can actually help to reduce pain and inflammation. Exercising, stretching, and myofascial release restore joint and muscle function, which can minimize inflammation and swelling. The less inflammation you have, the more mobile your body part will be, which will help you heal quicker.

In addition to pain-reducing exercises, your physical therapist can also incorporate heat and ice therapy into your recovery plan. Both options stimulate blood flow and help to promote a decrease in swelling. Your physical therapist will work with you to implement a tailored treatment program that is optimal for healing and educate you on the benefits of incorporating heat and cooling therapy into your routine.

Improving Mobility

Orthopedic surgery may cause limited mobility in the body part that was operated on for a period of time as the body works to recover and begin the healing process. Restoring and improving one’s mobility after orthopedic surgery is an important step in helping patients make a full recovery and maximizing function.

Mobility deficits can impair a patient’s ability to perform transfers, walk, or perform activities of daily living. Physical therapy can help reduce muscle tightness and regain mobility in the affected region. Mobility exercises can help speed up recovery time, and often includes a focus on the following areas as part of a comprehensive treatment program:

  • Movement
  • Strength training
  • Stretching
  • Myofascial release

Getting active after a recent orthopedic surgery can not only help to increase mobility, but it has also been shown to drastically help improve outcomes by reducing potential complications from being stationary for too long. Other benefits of improving your mobility after orthopedic surgery include a better blood flow of oxygen throughout your body, improved gastrointestinal function, improved muscle tone and strength, and increased appetite. In addition, working with a physical therapist will help you learn alternative methods to perform activities while your body recovers.

Your physical therapist will ensure the area that was operated on is functional and that you gradually work to regain full range of motion as part of the comprehensive treatment and recovery program.

Improvements in Strength and Flexibility

After a recent surgery, your body and the surgical location might feel stiff, tight, and inflexible. In addition to getting you up and mobile, your physical therapist will also work with you to strengthen your muscles and improve the flexibility you have. This includes working with you to implement light and low-impact exercises to build functional strength and may include gentle stretching exercises to improve your flexibility as your body continues to recover. These stretching and low-impact strengthening exercises are beneficial in helping you create a solid foundation to build upon throughout the recovery and rehabilitation process.

Reducing Scar Tissue Buildup

After orthopedic surgery, scar tissue will begin to form as a part of your body’s natural healing process. While the formation of some scar tissue is healthy, the buildup of excess scar tissue can reduce the function and range of motion in the affected area. Physical therapy can help break up or mobilize scar tissue in order to get the body part back to its normal amount of mobility. Some tissue mobilization techniques physical therapists often use include:

  • Myofascial release
  • Joint mobilization
  • Instrument-assisted mobilization

Physical therapy after a recent orthopedic surgery can be beneficial in helping to reduce the scar tissue that may build up naturally as your body heals and recovers. In addition to getting you active, the soft tissue mobilization techniques used by physical therapists will help to reduce the likelihood of scar tissue buildup and ensure that mobility isn’t significantly impacted by the scar tissue that may have built up during the recovery process.

Recover with Physical Therapy After Orthopedic Surgery

We believe that people shouldn’t have to live in pain. Our physical therapists create a personalized treatment plan for each patient and are 100% committed to helping them reach their health goals and maximize function. Physical therapy after orthopedic surgery plays a critical role in helping patients recover and get back to doing the things they love most.

In addition to helping patients recover after a recent orthopedic surgery, we treat over 100 conditions and are passionate about helping individuals alleviate pain and get back to doing their favorite activities.

Schedule an appointment today at a nearby physical therapy clinic to see how you can recover with physical therapy!


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  2. “Why Is Ambulation Important to Recovery?” OakBend Medical Center,