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Proper rehabilitation after orthopedic surgery is a crucial component in helping patients improve range of motion, increase strength and function, and improve quality of life. Our Physical Therapist’s role is to identify imbalances in your body that remain after your surgery to make sure the effects of surgery are as positive as possible.

Post-surgical physical therapy treatments should achieve four objectives:

Objective 1:    Pain Modulation & Inflammation Control
Objective 2:    Promotion of Active Movement
Objective 3:    Enhancement of Neuromuscular Performance: Exercise
Objective 4:    Patient Education & Biomechanical Counseling

Objective 1:Pain Modulation & Inflammation Control

Pain is the body’s way of indicating an injury is present.  Surgery essentially is a controlled injury utilized to fix a part of your body in need of repair. Physical Therapists are trained to help manage pain from injury and surgery.  Controlling your pain is an important first step in promoting a healthy and healing environment for you to recover following surgery. Some pain is common and expected following a surgery and will be a part of the recovery process.  An integral part of a rehabilitation program is to manage the inflammation and pain to progress the patient from the Objective 1 to Objective 2 as quickly and as safely as possible. Several ways a Physical Therapist can help you control your pain include:

  • Ice Application
  • Proper body positioning
  • Gentle joint mobilizations and movements
  • Electrical Stimulation (TENS)

Objective 2: Promotion of Movement: Passive & Active Motion

Physical Therapists working with patients following surgery will develop a detailed rehabilitation program for the patient that will include the promotion of both passive and active movements.  There is a strong body of evidence to support moderate stress to tissue is essential for connective tissue nutrition and repair.  In many studies movement was introduced with passive motion initially and progresses to active movement.  Moderate active movement has been shown to benefit assisting tissue recovery following injury, surgery, and immobilization.  Early active movement after surgery contributes to good circulation and promotes rapid healing of incisions, maintains muscle and helps to allow for proper remodeling, tissue repair, and regeneration. 

Objective 3: Enhancement of Neuromuscular Performance: Exercise

Exercise is critical to getting better after surgery. It is the key to getting patients back to activity safely, eliminating fatigue, promoting proper movement strategies through neuromuscular recruitment, enhancing strength, and avoiding re-injury. Ultimately, exercise is critical both in helping the body heal from the original injury and in preventing future insults and injury to the surgical area or adjacent anatomy. Your physical therapist at VTFC will develop an individually tailored exercise program based on knowledge of the exact type of surgery, and the forces that are most beneficial for the patient's affected area under exercise conditions. Patients will typically learn the exercises with the physical therapist and then do them on their own as a home exercise program. There are many exercise modalities available for patients. When the therapist and patient work together, they can find alternatives that will greatly benefit the patient's physical condition and capability for resuming activities to almost any level.

Objective 4: Patient Education & Biomechanical Counseling

With one-on-one physical therapy sessions at VTFC, patients have plenty of opportunity to ask their physical therapist questions. Patient Education is critical for the patient to understand their surgery and road to full recovery. Therapists can explain exactly what changes have occurred as a result of the patient's specific surgery, and what can be done to maximize the benefits from your surgery.

Biomechanical counseling will be a major part of the post-surgical rehabilitation. Our staff has a specific knowledge base on joint biomechanics for all joints and how they should move and interact.  Efficient and proper movement patterns and motions are necessary to minimize stress to joints and the surgically repaired tissue. Our staff is trained to identify faulty movement patterns that may have become present because of pre-surgery compensatory movement strategies to avoid pain.  Our staff is also trained to promote correct movement strategies and counsel our patients with good biomechanical movements coupled with the pursuit to reach the post-surgical goals of each patient.

Post-Surgical Success

Any patient's success in recovery from surgery depends on his or her willingness to work hard at home as well as with the therapist. Ideally, the surgery will take the patient a great deal of the way on the road to recovery, and then the patient and therapist team can work together to make the recovery the best possible. Our team at VTFC is committed to having the experience and knowledge to provide a successful post-surgical rehabilitation experience and getting you back to doing what you do best. Our staff has vast experience in treating the following post-surgical conditions:

The excellent physical therapy has enabled me to recover from spinal surgery in record time! Thanks VTFC~- Grey B.
They helped me get through a season!- Reed Doughty