Central Health Physiotherapy’s Orthopaedic Physio Package is our tailored physiotherapy and rehabilitation service for patients who have undergone any surgery involving the hip, knee, spine, ankle, shoulder, or elbow, including joint-replacement operations. These types of operations come under what is called Orthopaedic surgery.
This package offers a way that you can ensure you get the best outcome from your surgery by providing treatment, advice and a management plan tailored specifically to you, with a combination of both physiotherapy and hydrotherapy sessions, delivered by our specialist physiotherapists.
What is Orthopaedic Physio?
Orthopaedic physiotherapy specialises in the treatment of patients who are admitted to hospital due to a traumatic accident / incident or those undergoing planned surgery (elective) involving bones, joints, and their associated soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves). Elective patients are those undergoing pre-planned procedures such as knee replacement, hip replacement, knee arthroscopy, and back surgery. These post op physio packages are perfect for your recovery.
Why is physiotherapy important after surgery?
Although the surgery will correct the issues with the bony components of the joint, it will not address the associated muscle weakness, changes in movement patterns and reduced exercise tolerance that are commonly present before the surgery. These will require specific, individualised rehabilitation under expert guidance.
Research tells us that a physiotherapy-led exercise programme during recovery after joint replacement is essential to ensure patients achieve their rehabilitation goals and regain function. Post-operative physiotherapy requires a full and thorough physiotherapy assessment, alongside regular re-assessment and progression of treatment/rehabilitation to keep the patient informed and motivated.
‘Post-op’ physiotherapy is important for a number of different reasons, and at all the different stages after an operation:
Immediately following surgery
There is likely to be swelling in the area of the operation and potentially further away from the operation site as well, for example at the ankle or the hand. In this initial post-operative stage, the aim of physiotherapy is to try to minimise swelling, so it does not become painful and inhibit the patient’s recovery.
Early post-op rehabilitation
This stage predominantly involves exercises, the most common type of which will be range of movement exercises. It is vital post-surgery to start moving the joint if allowed, in order to increase circulation and prevent undue muscle shortening or stiffening of the joint. Other
exercises that might be prescribed will be strengthening exercises, to begin to recondition the muscles and regain movement and control. If patients do not follow the exercise program in these early stages, it could significantly delay their recovery.
Mid-stage post-op rehabilitation
This stage, lasting around 6-12 weeks, involves regular sessions with their physio to ensure the patient is reaching the expected recovery milestones, and not being held back by areas of specific stiffness or weakness for example. The patient’s rehabilitation will be being progressed appropriately, mainly involving advancing of strengthening, motor control and core stability exercises, and balancing this with returning to work and the gym/cardiovascular exercises. This can often be challenging without the correct advice and guidance.
End-stage post-op rehabilitation
During this stage, continued advice and guidance from your physio is imperative to ensure you safely return to all of your pre operation activities. Whether that be walking the dog, a night out dancing with friends or a game of tennis. There may be slight residual deficits in strength, motor control and proprioception that can be challenged and improved. This varies from person to person. The end goal of physiotherapy here is to help patients return to their pre-surgery activity level.
What does CHP’s Orthopaedic Physio Package involve?
For only £550 our Orthopaedic Physio Package includes a one hour initial assessment and 7 follow up sessions, which can be any combination of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy sessions to suit you and your goals.
Sessions can start before or after your surgery date. Many patients find sessions with a physiotherapist useful before their surgery to support them in preparing for the surgical process and rehabilitation phase. This type of appointment, known as ‘prehab’, can be particularly useful to get the patient, and the limb/joint that will be undergoing surgery, stronger beforehand, in order to optimise their recovery afterwards.
At Central Health, we don’t want to only settle for getting you back to your pre-surgery activity level, we want to get you even stronger and more robust than you were before. If your up for the challenge then you can book your Orthopaedic Physio Package.
Frequently asked questions…
When should I start physiotherapy after surgery?
This will surprise you, but within a day of your surgery, you may expect to start physio. A physiotherapist will come to you in hospital to assess your pain levels, swelling and general comfort, and to show you movements/exercises that you can start doing right away. Your physio will guide you on what exercises to do and for how long, and assist in arranging your out-patient physiotherapy for when you get discharged from the hospital.
What are the types of post-operative exercise?
The main types of post-operative exercises are range of motion exercises, strengthening exercises, and proprioceptive, or balance/control, exercises. Each different type is integral to optimising recovery, and will be used throughout the rehabilitation process. Other types of post-operative exercise include ‘gait re-education’ (learning the correct pattern of walking, for example after a hip or knee replacement), and functional exercises, aimed at improving ones overall function.
What happens if you don’t do PT after surgery?
The surgery will correct the issues with the bony components of the joint, however it will not address the associated muscle weakness, changes in movement patterns and reduced exercise tolerance that are commonly present before the surgery, or after the surgery due to the period of rest and inactivity. If you don’t do physiotherapy after surgery, you are risking not only delaying recovery significantly but also jeopardising the overall outcome of the surgery, i.e. how well one will walk again in the long term. This of course can then have knock-on effects to other areas of the body, if the operated area is not functioning as it should be (due to weakness or stiffness, for example).
Is physiotherapy painful after surgery?
The initial stages of physiotherapy, immediately after surgery, can be a little uncomfortable due to the normal post-operative pain and swelling that may be present. Afterall, even though the surgery has corrected the bony issues, it requires interfering with all the soft tissues surrounding it in order to access the area. These soft-tissues will be bruised and swollen.
Although the physiotherapy exercises and treatment sessions may be uncomfortable, you will be guided by your physio as to how much discomfort is appropriate and how much to ‘push through’. Generally, the stronger you become, the more comfortable you will feel.
How long do you need physical therapy after a hip replacement?
Typically, physiotherapy after a hip replacement takes anywhere between 3-6 months to regain full function again. However, some people may require further physio after that stage if there are ongoing strength, control, or movement deficits.
How can I strengthen my legs after knee surgery?
Your leg muscles may feel weak after surgery because you did not use them much with your knee problems. Surgery corrected the knee problem. Your home exercise program from your physio will be specific to you and your surgery/problem, and will include activities to help reduce swelling and increase your knee motion and strength. This will help you move easier and get back to doing the activities you enjoy.
There are numerous resources online for post-operative leg exercises, however it is always best to get the ok from your physio first to ensure they are appropriate for you and your surgery.
How do you get rid of stiff knees after surgery?
To minimise knee stiffness after you get home from surgery, try applying warm or cold packs to the joint. Typically, you apply cold packs until swelling subsides, then you can begin using warm packs, or alternating cold with warm compresses. The exercises prescribed to you by your physio are also designed to help reduce swelling and stiffness by improving circulation and restoring normal movement. This again highlights the importance of doing the exercises and complying with the home exercise program set by your physio. Your physio can also perform various manual therapy (hands-on) techniques to try and reduce stiffness.
After three months, if significant stiffness stills persists, arthroscopic or open surgery is sometimes recommended. The procedure is called a ‘manipulation under anesthesia’ (MUA). This is a surgical procedure that forces movement back into the joint. However, it is estimated that less than 2% of those who have had a total knee replacement go on to have an MUA.