Post-surgical therapy (PST) is a critical component of rehabilitation.
Although surgery is used to correct a serious orthopedic problem, rehabilitation is necessary for a full recovery. Without it, the human body cannot return to normal functioning. PST also helps to address any underlying biomechanical issues that caused the problem, helping to prevent recurrence.
The best physical therapy approach for any patient depends on the type of injury, the surgical procedure performed and the patient’s overall level of health and fitness. Mountain View Physical Therapy designs customized post-surgical therapy plans for our clients to expedite their safe and effective recovery.
Some of the most common types of post-surgical rehabilitation and therapy are listed below.
Knee Scope (Arthroscopic Surgery)
Knee scope rehab begins with non-weight-bearing exercises designed to gently strengthen muscles and improve range of motion. Pain and swelling are prevalent after a knee scope, so the therapist will show you how to take care to avoid overstretching or overexerting the joint.
Because arthroscopic procedures do less damage to the tissues, your surgeon will likely approve post-surgical therapy within a few days or a week after your procedure. Depending on your procedure, expect therapy to last approximately four weeks.
Open Knee Surgery
Open knee surgery requires a longer waiting period before post-surgical rehab can begin. However, this approach requires a more extended period of therapy, to strengthen and repair the soft tissues that were disturbed during surgery.
Because the rehab period is longer than a scope procedure, post-op therapy also focuses on keeping the non-involved knee strong and flexible. Depending on your procedure, expect therapy to last up to six months.
Post-surgical therapy for a total or partial knee replacement focuses on maintaining range of motion, strengthening the tissues disturbed during the procedure and re-engaging affiliated muscle groups, as well as maintaining strength and flexibility in the good leg. Depending on your procedure, expect therapy to last approximately four weeks.
Hip arthroscopy is used for a variety of treatment protocols. Consequently, post-surgical therapy will depend largely on the procedure you had. Rehab therapy consists of restoring strength and mobility. Excessive flexion and pivoting must be avoided. Depending on your procedure, expect therapy to last approximately six weeks.
Partial or Total Hip Replacement
Most patients can resume weight-bearing walking often within a day or two post-op, and rehab therapy often begins within the first week after hip replacement surgery. Early therapy focuses on strengthening the muscles around the hip and doing limited range-of-motion work.
Walking is a critical part of post-surgical therapy for hip replacement. Whole-body, cardio and well-leg work will also be included. Depending on your procedure, expect therapy to last six to eight weeks or longer.
After a shoulder scope procedure, post-surgical therapy can begin within the first week. In addition to whole-body and well-arm work, early therapy will focus on range of motion. After week four, strength training can begin, progressing accordingly as tolerated. Depending on your procedure, expect therapy to last approximately eight weeks.
Frozen Shoulder Surgery
The nature and duration of post-surgical therapy for shoulder surgery depends on the type of procedure you had. Frozen shoulder surgery therapy focuses on building strength and range of motion, re-engaging affiliated muscle groups, core strengthening and cardio work. Depending on your procedure, expect therapy to last approximately two to four weeks.
Total Shoulder Replacement
PST for shoulder replacement involves only passive range of motion light stretching for the first several weeks, as well as cardio and well-arm work to maintain fitness. After week six, light strengthening exercises can begin, progressing accordingly for the duration of therapy. Depending on your procedure, expect therapy to last approximately 12 weeks.
After ankle dislocation or instability surgery, no range of motion or weight-bearing is allowed for several weeks. Isometric exercises inside a boot are common in the first weeks. Cardio, whole-body and well-leg work will continue through the duration of PST. Patients can expect a gradual increase in PST intensity after week eight. Depending on your procedure, expect therapy to last approximately 12 weeks.
Rotator Cuff Repair
Rotator cuff repairs are often necessary if the patient hopes to regain full use of the shoulder. In some cases, post-operative therapy can begin quickly and progress rapidly to strengthen the joint and speed healing. Reaching and lifting will be significantly restricted, however. Whole-body training, cardio and well-arm work will continue throughout. Depending on your procedure, expect therapy to last approximately 12 weeks.
Mountain View Physical Therapy designs our programs based on your specific needs and the recommendations of your surgeon. No one PST approach works for everyone. Our experienced and compassionate therapists work diligently to keep patients motivated and moving toward their goals.
Based in Midvale, Utah, we provide services to patients throughout northern Utah. Contact us today to learn more about our post-surgery therapy programs.