Physical Therapy plays an important role in your rehabilitation following surgery. Some of the most common surgeries requiring physical therapy include joint replacements, ligament or tendon repairs, fracture fixation, and joint arthroscopies. Although all of these surgical procedures continue to improve with time and are now less invasive, patients usually require early and comprehensive physical therapy for the best possible outcomes to be achieved. In general, post-surgical physical therapy can be divided into 3 phases:
Phase 1 is usually 0-2 weeks after surgery and the primary goal is pain and inflammation control. Exercises may be initiated depending on the surgical procedure but are gentle and focus on increasing range of motion and improving circulation. Your therapist may manually move the surgical body part to help restore joint mobility. Ice and electrical stimulation are often helpful during this time frame to control pain levels.
Phase 2 is generally from 2-6 weeks after surgery and the primary goal at this point is to increase range of motion to normal levels and improve overall strength. This is usually accomplished with more advanced manual stretching and progression of an exercise program. Patient education is a big part of this phase as home exercises play a critical role.
Phase 3 is generally from 6-12 weeks after surgery. The main goal of this phase is return to function and includes continued progression of exercises. It also includes a gradual return to your normal activity level.
The overall time spent in physical therapy following surgery varies a great deal depending on the surgical procedure and your body’s healing response. Additionally, your fitness level prior to surgery can impact the rate of your recovery. We treat each patient individually and will work closely with you to determine the right goals for you and ensure the best recovery possible, no matter what the procedure.