Physical therapists most often treat patients before and after orthopedic surgeries such as hip and knee replacement, or repair of badly broken bones.
The purpose of pre- & post- operative rehabilitation is to provide a rapid recovery utilizing the best possible exercise programs. Therapists maintain close communication with the physician in order to fully understand what the patient is undergoing and to prepare an individual treatment plan.
The pre-op visit accomplishes many things. Patients are able to meet the therapist who will plan their post-operative care and ask questions about their upcoming care. The pre-op visit is also an opportunity for the patient to practice with post-surgery walking aids such as crutches, cane or a walker. The therapist will explain what the post-operative exercises will be like and talk to the patient about practicing them as soon as he or she feels able. Exercising as soon as possible ensures that the joint stays mobile and its strength is maintained or increased. Most therapists conduct several tests on patients to determine their physical capabilities and plan the best possible program. Items a therapist will judge and share with the patient’s physician include:
- Muscle and joint strength
- Walking ability
- Independence within the home