Sometimes, physical therapy, rest and other corrective measures may not completely correct issues and surgery may be required. Orthopedic surgery can be performed on most joints and muscles in the body, but should only be considered a last resort measure to decrease pain and improve function.
Most surgeons will recommend or prescribe physical therapy after surgery. Before surgery, have a conversation with the surgeon to see what kind of therapy they will require after surgery. In some cases, the surgeon may recommend therapy before surgery. This can help improve strength and range of motion to your highest levels to have better outcomes after surgery. Prior levels of strength and range of motion are huge indicators of overall success and outcome.
Most surgeons will provide a strict protocol to follow for both the therapist and the patient. This protocol includes guided education, manual therapy and exercise. The purpose is to make sure the patient meets a set of milestones for strength and range of motion to ensure the best outcomes.
Surgery is necessary for rotator cuff injuries where there is a tear in one of the rotator cuff muscles. It is one of the most common shoulder surgeries performed. This type of injury presents itself with severe limitations in daily activities and inability to use the arm due to extreme pain, weakness and loss of range of motion. Physical therapy is necessary following surgery to ensure success in regaining full use.
Surgery is necessary when degenerative changes have advanced severely and traditional methods of therapy are no longer effective in management of symptoms. It is the most common hip surgery performed. The joint is replaced completely with artificial components to allow for pain-free weight bearing at the hip. Most patients start outpatient physical therapy within three days of surgery. The focus at therapy is to improve gait mechanics and build strength in the new hip.
Like with the hip, knee replacements are necessary when it has degenerated and traditional measures are no longer effective in pain management. It is the most common knee surgery. The knee is replaced with an artificial joint, and most patients begin therapy within three days of surgery. Goals in therapy include building strength and gaining range of motion to allow for a full return to pre-surgery levels.
If you’re experiencing pain, ask your doctor if therapy is an option before surgery, if it has not been attempted yet. Many general pain inquiries have great outcomes with interventions of physical therapy to address strength or mobility issues. Certain painful conditions have been shown to have the same effectiveness or outcomes as surgery with correct physical therapy. Physical therapy is a less invasive and cheaper alternative, when available, to surgery. If you’re ready to talk to the experts at Crafted Physical Therapy, give us a call at (720) 204-4567 or contact us online today. We’re ready to help you develop a plan to get you back to the life you love.