Tag Archives: Surgery

When Is the Time Right for Physical Therapy?

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Often, we end up in physical therapy based on the referral of our physician after dealing with and injury for a certain period of time. However, physical therapy can be used for many different ailments and can actually help cut down the time off work, off of sports and promote healing much faster.

Physical therapy can be used for many of your minor and major injuries. Following surgeries or traumas (accidents, dislocations, fractures, sprains) it can cause a considerable reduction in swelling and allow things to heal 75-80% faster than if without therapy. It has been shown that following surgery, the quicker someone goes for therapy, the less likely they are to stiffen up or have complications due to loss of range of motion. It also helps to significantly reduce pain and swelling.

Physical therapy is not only used following surgeries or sports injuries, but can be extremely helpful in preventing symptoms from getting worse and developing into more problems. If you’ve been having pain in your shoulder for 3 months or so, your body now has altered the way it moves your shoulder and in turn, you have developed some compensation patterns which could cause things to develop into other areas, such as your neck from your altered movements. This then, can lead to more significant problems which could have been easily avoided if therapy had been started and symptoms had gotten under control.

Remember, the quicker you get into therapy following an injury or persistent pain, the quicker your response time will be to therapy. If you are having some issues, talk to your physician about starting therapy. You don’t have to wait until it has a complete impact on your life or your recreational activities. Stop pain in your life and feel better by visiting one of our PT & Me physical therapists today.

physical therapy knee pain

How Physical Therapy Helps Knee Rehabilitation

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PT&Me Knee Rehabilitation

Physical therapists can provide more than pre/post surgical knee rehabilitation for patients experiencing knee pain.

What Causes Knee Pain?
The knee is a relatively simple joint required to do a complicated job…to provide flexible mobility while bearing considerable weight. While walking down the street, our knees bear three to five times our body weight. When the knee is overstressed in sports or in everyday activities, these structures can break down — and a knee injury occurs.

Common Knee Problems Seen by Our Physical Therapists:

  • Strain / Sprain
  • Arthritis Pain
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Ligament Sprains
  • ACL Tears
  • Tendinitis (ie: Patellar, Pes Anserinus)
  • Chondromalacia Patella
  • Patellofemoral Syndrome / Knee Pain
  • Pre / Post Operative Therapy

How Physical Therapy Provides Knee Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation acutely after knee surgery or a knee injury primarily centers around decreasing swelling in the knee joint. Even a small amount of fluid inhibits the quadriceps muscle on the front of knee by slowing the signal for movement traveling from the brain to the muscle. Manual techniques to decrease muscle spasm and improve length tension relationships of soft tissue are also incorporated. Gradually, exercises to increase strength, range of motion and functional mobility are introduced.

Treatments Offered Include:

  • Comprehensive evaluation with an emphasis on determining the source of the problem
  • Individualized and specific exercise programs
  • Manual therapy (hands-on treatment)
  • Modalities as needed
  • Work and sport specific simulations
  • Progressive home program to help restore independence and self-management

Knee Rehabilitation Goals:

  • Reduce Pain
  • Improve Mobility
  • Movement Awareness/Gait Training
  • Functional Strength
  • Patient Education

For more information on knee injuries visit our PT & Me Knee Injury Center page by clicking here.

The PT & Me Injury Center goes over diagnoses on how physical therapists treat specific injuries.

To find or search for a local participating PT & Me physical therapy clinic in your local area please click here.

lumbar physical therapy

The Phases of Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar Physical Therapy

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A great cervical, thoracic and lumbar physical therapy program is very important for patients who have experienced surgery. Rehabilitation will be modified based on body region and type of surgery.

Pre-Operative Phase
Prior to surgery, your physical therapist will perform a comprehensive evaluation to assess your mobility, strength, coordination, and function in order to create a customized home exercise program to perform in preparation for your surgical procedure. This program will be important for you to perform until you have surgery to help improve your recovery after surgery.

NON-FUSION PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PROGRAM

Phase 1 Post-Operative (0 – 4 Weeks Post-Op)
During this phase, you will undergo light activities, like walking. During this time, it is imperative that you perform the home exercise program your physical therapist taught you to improve muscle function, and help improve healing. During this time, you may exhibit pain and soreness due to the surgery. This is a normal part of the healing process.

  • Immediately following your surgery, you will be allowed to perform very light, gentle, activities of daily living around your home. However, do not lift more than 10 pounds (a milk jug), and go slowly when bending or twisting.
  • Walking is important to perform consistently as well. Move around your house, ensuring that the area is free of any obstacles which can cause you to fall. Walking around the block should be the limit to what you do in the first 2 weeks. This duration can be increased but should stay under one quarter of a mile for the first 4 weeks.

  • Healing is most important during this phase and post-surgical pain and soreness is normal.

Phase 2 Post-Operative (4 – 6 Weeks Post-Op)
During this phase, you will start physical therapy. Physical therapy during this phase will involve exercises to improve your mobility, strength, and stability. Due to an increase in activity during this time, it is normal to exhibit increased muscle soreness with physical therapy. The soreness will resolve as your muscles get stronger.

  • Formal physical therapy as prescribed by your surgeon will start.
  • Physical therapy will include a comprehensive evaluation to determine the appropriate treatment to improve mobility, strength, stability, and coordination.
  • It is normal to experience muscle soreness during this time with your program. Each person’s body has a different activity threshold that needs to be reached to make physical improvements and muscular soreness is a healthy, safe response to working in this threshold.
  • As your activity threshold level improves, the soreness will resolve.

Phase 3 Post-Operative (7 – 10 Weeks Post-Op)
During this phase, physical therapy will focus on dynamic exercises and activities emphasizing multiple planes of motion. During this time, you can expect more complicated exercises to challenge your coordination and stamina for reaching your goals.

  • During this phase, physical therapy will increase intensity in regards to your appropriate activity threshold.
  • Exercises and activities will become more challenging, more dynamic, and will involve multiple planes of motion to simulate and retrain muscles to complete your daily or recreational activities.
  • Your custom physical therapy program will include specific activities and exercises to prepare you for return to your functional goals.

Information provided by PT and Me physical therapy partner, Rehab Associates of Central Virginia. R.A.C.V. has 13 locations throughout central Virginia. More information about Rehab Associates of Central Virginia can be found on their website at www.racva.com.

PREHAB Knee Replacement

PREHAB Move to Improve Your Goals: Total Knee Replacement

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PREHAB Home Preparation
Before total knee replacement surgery there are a few simple things you can do in your home to make it safer and more comfortable during recovery.

  • Consider keeping a cordless phone near you or carry your cell phone in your pocket.
  • Move furniture to keep a clear wide path to your kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.
  • Remove throw rugs that may cause you to slip or trip. Tape down any loose edges of large area rugs that cannot be removed. Make sure extension cords are out of traffic areas or tape them down if needed.
  • Wear rubber sole shoes to prevent slipping.
  • Keep commonly used items in your home at waist level within easy reach. This will prevent you from bending over to reach items. Use a reacher to grab objects and avoid excessive bending at the knee.
  • Make sure there is adequate lighting in the house. Add night lights in hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
  • It may be helpful to have temporary living space on the same floor if your bedroom/bathroom is located on the second floor of your home. Walking up/down stairs will be more difficult immediately following surgery and could increase your risk for falls.
  • Arrange for someone to collect your mail and take care of pets or loved ones if necessary.
  • Prepare frozen meals in advance to assist you with cooking.
  • Stock up on groceries, toiletries, and any needed medications you might need.
  • A shower chair or a tub bench will make bathing much easier. Do not take soak baths until your physician allows you to do so.
  • An elevated toilet seat will be helpful with toilet transfers and with following post surgical precautions or guidelines.
  • Assistive devices for dressing such as a reacher, extended shoe horn and / or sock aid may be necessary during your post operative recovery.

While it’s important to prepare your home before surgery, PREHAB should also include physical therapy. Physical therapists will work with patients to create an exercise program before surgery that can help improve performance and decrease recovery times after a total knee replacement. Talk to a PT near you and learn about the benefits of PREHAB before total joint replacements.

Total Knee Replacement Prehab: Move to Improve Your Outcomes

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Many people with arthritis favor their joints over time in an effort to relieve pain and thus become weaker in their leg muscles or lose range of motion. However, the better shape you are in before surgery the better your results will be after surgery so it is important to strengthen your leg muscles and work on your range of motion. Before surgery your physical therapist will teach you appropriate exercises to help improve strength, range of motion, and balance. They will also teach you how to walk with an appropriate assistive device such as a walker or cane in the immediate post operative recovery period. Finally, they will discuss precautions and advise you in a few short term home adaptations such as removing loose rugs to help make your recovery easier and safer.

Prehab Goals
• Develop an exercise program with your PT to help you
• Improve strength
• Improve range of motion
• Improve balance
• Gait training — Review walking with an appropriate assistive device such as a walker or cane in the immediate post operative recovery period
• Discuss precautions and review a few short term home adaptations that can help make your recovery easier and safer

walker lady

Pre Surgery Exercise Plan
Make every effort to begin these exercises as early as possible before your surgery. Only do what you are able to do without increasing your pain. It is important for you not to exacerbate your pain prior to surgery. Ice packs for 15 minutes following your exercises may be helpful to reduce any soreness in your knee.

This information was written by STAR Physical Therapy, an outpatient physical therapy group with 60 locations in Tennessee, offering more than 15 comprehensive specialty services. STAR Physical Therapy was established in 1997 with one clinic and one mission – to serve. Today, they’ve grown to offer that direct service in more than 60 clinics. While they’ve grown, one thing that has not changed is their commitment to you, their communities, and their employees. For more information click here.

More about knee replacements and physical therapy can be found here:

total knee replacement

PT News

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This Month in PT News. Featuring articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. Exercise after Knee Replacement Surgery
Written by the Therapy Team at Cornerstone Physical Therapy – Gahanna, OH

If you’ve been undergoing treatment for knee arthritis and haven’t gotten any pain relief yet, your doctor may recommend a total knee replacement surgery. Read more

2. Low Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop
Written by the Therapy Team at Oregon Spine & Physical Therapy – Eugene, OR

If you are suffering with chronic back pain or sciatica and you’re looking for some help… why don’t you start by attending one of our Educational Workshops so you can make a better, more educated and more informed decision about your options to ease it. Read more

3. Inflammation and Your Diet
Written by Cheryl Schwieters, Physical Therapist Assistant at the Center for Physical Rehabilitation – Grand Rapids, MI

Throughout the day the body is constantly being bombarded with substances that can trigger inflammation. Read more

Athletic Training Month

March is National Athletic Training Month

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March is National Athletic Training Month! Your protection is our top priority. Athletic trainers are health care for life and sport.

Athletic trainers specialize in patient education, injury prevention, and are an athlete’s first line of defense from the time of injury to recovery. Athletic trainers work closely with coaches and parents and may refer athletes to other health care professionals such as physicians, physical therapists and surgeons when needed.

What is an Athletic Trainer?
Athletic trainers hold at least a four year degree from a BOC (Board of Certification) accredited institution. they are licensed, certified health care professionals working with athletes on and off the field. Generally they are the first responders when injuries occur during sporting events.

Athletic trainers work closely with coaches and parents and will refer athletes to other health care professionals such as physicians, physical therapists and surgeons when needed.

Athletic trainers hours are determined by sports schedules. Typically they are available after school and stay until sporting events have concluded.

For more information about our athletic trainers, and what they do visit NATA’s websites at: www.nata.org or www.atyourownrisk.org

shoulder surgery

Self Care: Safe Dressing Following Shoulder Surgery / Injury

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When recovering from shoulder surgery, it can be difficult to dress and undress without assistance. With the help of one of our trusted Certified Hand Therapists (CHT) they have compiled a list of tips to get dressed safely and independently while recovering.  It is highly recommended that you follow the instructions prescribed by your surgeon or attending physician.

DRESSING

Upper Body
• Bend forward at your hips and let your affected arm dangle loosely forward
• Always dress the affected arm through the sleeve of your shirt first
• Proceed to dress the unaffected arm

Lower Body
• One handed techniques to don socks: touch all fingers to your thumb, then slide the sock over your hand. Spread your fingers apart to open the sock and slide it onto the foot

Bra
• Clip the bra from the front and as low as possible to your waist. Guide the bra enclosure towards your back. Slide the strap over the affected arm and then slide

shoulder_3D

GROOMING

• Bend forward at the hips and dangle arm in order to clean and apply deodorant

These post shoulder surgery dressing tips were provided by The Hale Hand Center, with locations in Melbourne and Rockledge, FL. The Hale Hand Center offers both physical therapy and certified hand therapy services, as well as provides custom splinting. More information about The Hale Hand Center can be found on their website here.

Common Football Injuries

Common Football Injuries

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Football is one of the most popular sports played by young athletes, and it leads all other sports in the number of injuries sustained. In 2007, more than 920,000 athletes under the age of 18 were treated in emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, and clinics for football-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Physical therapy can provide specific treatment to a number of specific football injuries. Here are a few injuries that can happen during a football game or practice:

KNEE INJURIES
Knee injuries in football are the most common, especially those to the anterior or posterior cruciate ligament (ACL/PCL) and to the menisci (cartilage of the knee). These knee injuries can adversely affect a player’s long-term involvement in the sport. Football players also have a higher chance of ankle sprains due to the surfaces played on and cutting motions.

Physical therapy treatment for knee injuries may include:
• Exercises to help promote recovery. Specifically, therapists will design a program to strengthen the whole leg as well improve its range of motion.
• Balance exercises to allow the return to daily activities (including work and sports) while decreasing the risk of falls and reinjury
• Hands-on treatment to keep the knee joint from becoming stiff
• Ice and vasopneumatic pressure to reduce swelling and pain

SHOULDER INJURIES
Shoulder injuries are also common. The labrum (cartilage bumper surrounding the socket part of the shoulder) is particularly susceptible to injury, especially in offensive and defensive linemen. In addition, injuries to the acromioclavicular joint (ACJ) or shoulder are commonly seen in football players.

Physical therapy treatment for shoulder injuries may include:
NON-SURGICAL
Most labral tears will respond well to non-surgical treatment and may be just one component of a multi-factored pathology of the aging shoulder. Physical therapy will typically address a labral tear from the biomechanical approach of improving the motion and reducing the repetitive injury. If the inflammation and mechanical stress on the structures can be reduced then the tissue has a chance to heal.
SURGICAL
If the athlete has had surgery to the shoulder, the therapist will follow a specific protocol to apply just the right amount of strain on the shoulder to keep it safe after surgery. A sling may be recommended in the early stages but the therapist will get the arm moving with assistance within a relatively short period of time. Physical therapists will give instructions on how to provide varying levels of assistance to the arm for motion in safe planes in front of the body, and eventually throughout the entire range of motion. Once the tissues are healed, the therapist will begin to put resistance on the support structures in order to improve the mechanics of motion and reduce the risk of another injury.

kid football player

CONCUSSIONS
Football players are very susceptible to concussions. A concussion is a change in mental state due to a traumatic impact. Not all those who suffer a concussion will lose consciousness. Some signs that a concussion has been sustained are headache, dizziness, nausea, loss of balance, drowsiness, numbness/tingling, difficulty concentrating, and blurry vision. The athlete should return to play only when clearance is granted by a health care professional. It is recommended that players go though a concussion baseline test before the start of the season. Results from baseline tests (or pre-injury tests) can be used and compared to a similar exam conducted by a healthcare professional during the season if an athlete has a suspected concussion. More information here.

Physical therapy treatment for concussions may include:
EVALUATION: The physical therapist will take time to talk with you and perform a thorough examination of your condition.
THERAPY: The physical therapist will plan a treatment program suited to your individual condition, which will involve exercises for your balance, vision, inner ear and more in order to restore brain function.
TEACHING: Physical therapists will spend time reviewing information with you regarding your diagnosis and progress as well as answering your questions. This empowers the patient to make a lifelong impact on their health.
RETURN TO SPORT: Physical therapists are uniquely qualified to guide you towards a safe return to sport. A therapist can guide recovering athletes through a stepwise protocol to keep patients symptom free,  and to prevent serious, life-threatening conditions associated with a second head injury due to early return to football.

OVERUSE INJURIES
Low-back pain, or back pain in general, is a fairly common complaint in football players due to overuse. Overuse can also lead to overtraining syndrome, when a player trains beyond the ability for the body to recover.

Physical therapy treatment for overuse injuries may include:
Pain-relieving techniques (such as ice) and decreasing or modifying painful activities. This diagnosis often occurs from muscular tightness or weakness which causes posture to get out of alignment. A physical therapist will educate and assist in proper stretching and strengthening exercises for the back. They may perform hands on, manual therapy techniques to further increase joint flexibility. The final phase of rehab will involve strengthening during functional activities and education to prevent the injury from recurring.

RESOURCES:
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
www.cpsc.gov

Stop Sports Injuries
www.stopsportsinjuries.org

REFERENCES:
Preventing Football Injuries. http://www.stopsportsinjuries.org/STOP/Prevent_Injuries/Football_Skating_Injury_Prevention.aspx

physical therapy

Try Physical Therapy First

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Benefits of Physical Therapy Over Pain Killers and Surgery:

  • Conservative treatment with physical therapy has no side effects
  • Treat the cause of the problem and not just the symptoms
  • The best effect is getting you more involved in a healthy lifestyle
  • Affordable and covered under most insurance plans

As Physical Therapists We Provide:

  • Improved awareness
  • Increase strength and flexibility
  • Education and exercise designed to prevent future injuries
  • A program that increases your overall strength and flexibility
  • Modifications of movement for daily living

spine doctor

DID YOU KNOW THAT IF YOU HAVE…

BACK PAIN
If you are experiencing physical pain going to physical or occupational therapy for a musculoskeletal screening first may result in long term solutions without the use of expensive prescriptions or tests such as MRI’s, and reduces the risk of re-injury.
Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/22614792/

KNEE INJURY
Physical Therapy is equally effective In treating degenerative knee disease. One of the most common orthopedic procedures in the United States — knee arthroscopic surgery — is proving to be an unnecessary course of action for many patients who have a torn meniscus in their knee.
Source: New England Journal Of Medicine: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1305189?query=featured_home&

CONCUSSION
Physical Therapists are key to helping in the recovery from concussion by monitoring the physical, mental, and emotional symptoms of an athlete to determine when they are no longer symptomatic.
Source: http://www.momsteam.com/health-safety/post-concussion-treatment-physical-therapy-can-help

We understand that you are concerned with maintaining your health. So ask your medical provider if physical therapy is the right choice for you. By trying physical therapy first, it is likely that you can reduce or remove the need for surgery, as well as remove the risk of dependence on prescription pain killers.