How Physical Therapy Helps After Orthopedic Surgery

A big part of the work we do at Clear Lake Physical Therapy and Rehab Specialists (CLPTRS) is working with patients after a surgery. Whether you have surgery on your knee, hip, or shoulder, we are here to help.

Physical therapy is a big part of the recovery process regardless of which kind surgery you are having.

The overall goals of post-op physical therapy are to heal faster, reduce risk of re-injury, and reduce swelling. Physical therapy at CLPTRS will help you recover, improve your flexibility, and range of motion. It will also minimize scar tissue development and help manage pain levels without excessive use of prescription narcotics.

As soon as surgery is over, rehab begins. Within the first 24 hours, your doctor will want you standing and beginning to walk if you’ve had hip or knee surgery. Of course, walking after these surgeries will require a walking aid such as a walker, cane, or crutches.

Before you leave the hospital, you will probably meet with a physical therapist. A physical therapist can teach you how to move about while you recover. They may also educate you on applying ice, motions to avoid, and motions that will help you heal.

Once you are home to recover, physical therapy sessions are vital for getting your body back to health. Most patients who had knee or hip surgery require physical therapy for eight to twelve weeks, depending on their surgery and recovery progress. Shoulder surgery physical therapy can last from twelve to sixteen weeks.

There are various stages of physical therapy and its role throughout the recovery process.

Immediately after surgery, your physical therapist will work with you to strengthen the muscles around the area that was operated on. Working the muscles will also prevent scar tissue build-up. The exercises taught to you will also reduce stiffness. As the patient, you’re only helping yourself by doing your specifically tailored exercises at the frequency your physical therapist instructs.

For the first few weeks, you will have daily exercises. Dressing, bathing, and walking should come more manageable with time.

A month after surgery, your physical therapist should begin work and education to reduce your swelling. At this point in the recovery, the main goal is to increase strength and range of motion.

As your recovery progresses, your physical therapist will modify the exercises. Both intensity and repetition should increase. Your range of motion will improve as you return to your everyday lifestyle.

The wonderful thing about Wisconsin is that you, as the patient, get to choose where you receive your post-op physical therapy. No matter where you have your surgery, you are free to choose your physical therapist. Your surgeon may suggest a physical therapist. But much like you may choose your own dentist, chiropractor, or other health professional, you can choose where you receive treatment after surgery.

At CLPTRS, we work with many postoperative patients to restore health and performance to pre-surgery levels. With office locations in Clear Lake, Amery, and Turtle Lake, we help many in Western Wisconsin to recover safely and effectively from all varieties of surgeries. Call us at 715-263-4103 to talk about how we can help you recover.