Physiotherapy after an orthopaedic or sports injury related surgery plays an important role in the overall recovery process. Reaching certain rehabilitation goals and milestones is a very important factor to obtain the best possible outcome. While minor procedures may not require any formal supervised physiotherapy but most of the major surgical procedures will involve some degree of post-operative rehabilitation. Research suggests patients who have undergone post-operative rehabilitation have reported quicker recovery rate, reduced pain and early resumption of daily activities. Common Orthopaedic Procedures which require post-operative rehabilitation mainly are Total Knee Replacement, Total Hip Replacement, ACL reconstruction, Meniscal repair, Rotator cuff repair, Spinal Disc surgeries etc. In many cases patients may have to undergo Physiotherapy before the surgery in order to gain the optimum joint mobility and muscle strength. Pre-operative Physiotherapy is a very common phenomenon in many sports related injuries and has shown to reduce the recovery time. This enables an athlete to get back to sports at a quicker time.
Following a surgery, your physiotherapist will assess your physical function. This includes pain evaluation, joint range of motion, muscle strength, balance assessment. Your post-surgical programme and length of rehabilitation will depend on these findings along with the type of surgery performed. Post-operative Physiotherapy helps in the reduction of pain and swelling, Improves muscle strength, joint range of motion, improves cardio vascular fitness, Enhances healing process and also prevents post-operative complications.
Dos and Don’ts after Surgery
Immediately after surgery there are some dos and don’ts which are to be followed depending on the type of surgery. Some common exercises like deep breathing exercises, active ankle toe movements are prescribed in the hospital to prevent complications like Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and muscle atrophy. Once the patient is home, he will require a reassessment and a rehabilitation programme will be planned accordingly. In lower limb surgeries, the surgeon might advise on weight bearing during walking which needs to be followed. In shoulder surgeries the lifting of shoulder actively needs to be done in a gradual manner. In spine related surgeries forwarding bending is avoided and lumbar belt is advised during walking to provide support. It is advisable for the Physiotherapist to communicate regularly with the operating surgeon during the rehabilitation phase. Patient also needs to be educated on the wound care and possible red flags like pus discharge, excessive swelling and skin changes.
Home exercise Programme:
Home exercise programme is a set of exercises prescribed by the therapist in the form of a chart or a video which patient needs to do on a regular basis. It helps in better recovery and patient can manage himself in the long term.
Other surgeries where Physiotherapy is advised are Cardiac bypass surgery, Abdominal surgeries, Neurosurgery, Lung surgeries, Plastic surgery, Tendon repair, Nerve repair.