Joint Replacement and Reconstruction Rehabilitation
Physical therapists are key members of the orthopedic treatment team for patients undergoing joint replacement and/or joint reconstruction rehabilitation. Following surgery, therapists work with patients to teach them range-of-motion exercises, strengthening exercises and functional training, including walking training. Patients are given instruction on caring for their new joints, and prior to being discharged, are taught exercises to be done at home as part of a follow-up therapy program.
Patients are often referred for physical therapy following spinal surgery, particularly back surgery. The physical therapist's primary role is to teach patients the proper way to get in and out of bed and to move while walking in order to protect the spine. Some patients have pain or weakness after surgery and need to be instructed in the use of a cane or a walker. Patients who are required to wear a brace are taught, along with family members, how to put it on and take it off by the physical therapist.
Various orthopedic knee or shoulder surgeries, such as ACL reconstructions, trilliat procedures, acromioplasties or rotator cuff repairs, sometimes require an overnight hospital stay. These patients typically receive one physical therapy visit before they are discharged home. The therapist teaches patients exercises to keep their joint flexible and strong and, if needed, provide instruction on using crutches. The physical therapist may also recommend continued therapy in an outpatient setting.