Orthopedic rehabilitation is a type of physical therapy that treats conditions that affect the skeletal and muscular systems. Specifically, orthopedic rehabilitation can be used for individuals that have gone through joint replacement surgeries. Joint replacement surgeries usually consist of total hip or knee replacement, ankle reconstructions, shoulder replacements or rotator cuff repairs. The end result of orthopedic rehabilitation is to restore relief to those who suffer with pain.
After having surgery, the patient will be in the hospital for a couple of days which will depend on the severity of the patient’s condition. While in the hospital the patient will most likely start walking with crutches or a walker.
After discharge from the hospital, physical therapy is given through one-on-one care. The purpose of physical therapy is to strengthen the repairing bone around the replaced joint, keep muscles strong and healthy, and to improve mobility and range of motion. The length of the physical therapy will depend on the severity of the patient’s injuries.
Initially, the physical therapist will evaluate the patient’s condition during the initial visit by range of motion. After the initial evaluation, the physical therapist will come up with a recovery treatment plan for the patient.
A physical therapist will help the patient with gentle, range-of-motion exercises. “Most physical therapy programs post-joint replacement include walking and other movement regimens intended to gradually increase joint mobility.” (Recovering from Total Joint Replacement Surgery) A patient’s session with the physical therapist might include anywhere from stretching, walking exercises, as well as educating the patient on his or her condition. For instance, a patient recovering from a total knee or hip replacement might begin walking with crutches or a walker, then walk indoors to outdoors, and eventually up and down stairs.
Along with physical therapy, the patient will have an exercise regimen to follow at home which is instructed by the physical therapist. Examples of exercises include talking short walks several times a day and various types of stretching designed to increase mobility.
As always, the end result of physical therapy and exercising at home, as instructed by the physical therapist, is the ability to gain full function of your joints. Total rehabilitation time varies among person to person but the average time is usually 6 months.
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