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Postoperative Recommendations

Physical therapy is the next step in facilitating a speedy recovery. It can begin in as little as a few hours or a few days after surgery and is essential to returning to one’s daily activities. After surgery, the body needs retraining. Licensed physical therapists help to restore range of motion and strength. Their expertise is essential in preventing a re-injury during the healing process.

The physical therapist will evaluate your condition and establish goals to minimize the adverse effects of surgery (pain/swelling) and help to restore normal function to the area. The therapist then designs an exercise program tailored to the individual patient’s needs and abilities.

Immediately after surgery, the body part may be immobilized while pain and swelling subside. Then, a series of progressively challenging exercises is designed to restore range of motion, stability, and strength. The ultimate goal is to return you to a normal activity level.

Post-operative treatments may include:

  • Modalities for pain reduction including ice, heat, and electrical stimulation

  • Exercise to improve range of motion, flexibility, and strength

  • Posture, balance, and coordination training

  • Gait training

  • Home exercise instruction

  • Training in activities of daily living, like dressing or bathing

  • Training with adaptive equipment

At times the hospital cannot discharge the patient directly home after surgery. That’s where shot-term rehabilitation comes in. Whether you are having knee, hip, shoulder, or other replacement/reconstructive orthopedic surgery, preparation of a successful recovery encompasses factors beyond the hospital stay. Physical therapy is part of the recovery process. Therapy services can be provided at home, on an outpatient basis in a short-term rehabilitation facility. Discuss topics with your surgeon and consider their recommendations on a setting that enables a safe return home.

Assess your home/support situation

  • Do you live alone?

  • Do you have a network of family and friends who can stay with you during your recovery?

  • Are the essential rooms (bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom) in your home on the same floor?

  • Are there steps to negotiate? Do they have handrails?

  • Does your bathroom have grab bars, a raised toilet, a shower seat?

  • Do you have other medical issues or chronic conditions that need to be monitored?


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