Your treatment may differ greatly from someone else who had a similar surgery, but a physical therapist will deliver a personalized therapy plan that will meet your needs and challenges. However, there are a few things that almost all physical therapy plans after joint surgery will have in common.
Preventing Scar Tissue
One of the major goals your physical therapist will have for you is to minimize the scar tissue within your joint. If you have surgery and don’t move the joint enough afterwards, scar tissue may develop on your joint that will limit your future movement. To counteract this scar tissue, you therapist will probably help you get up and moving again very soon after the actual surgery takes place. In addition to regular appointments, physical therapists also often recommend exercise for you to do at home.
Returning to Daily Activities
Another goal your physical therapist will likely have for you is to return to your normal lifestyle or better. Physical therapists will take into account your previous lifestyle and your future goals. For example, did you formerly golf? Do you do a lot of hiking or walking? Or do you just want to be able to chase your grand children around or work around the yard? Returning too quickly to your previous activities may further injure you, but your therapist knows you’re impatient to get back to the activities you enjoy. He or she can help you set appropriate goals and a safe time line for achieving them.
Physical therapists also want to reduce your pain as much as possible. They know you were in pain before the surgery, which is the reason it happened in the first place. By helping you choose appropriate and effective exercises, they can target muscles that will support and protect your problematic joints. Building up the appropriate muscles can also help ease the pain and swelling around your joints after surgery. This will also help you restore a comfortable range of motion.
The weeks following a joint surgery can be difficult for both the patient and his or her family, but physical therapists are well acquainted with the difficulties you will face during these weeks. Their expertise can help you safely restore comfort and motion to your joints. Be sure to talk with your physical therapist about your goals for your lifestyle after recovery and give them feedback on how the treatment is helping (or not helping) you so they can adjust your treatment plan accordingly.