Physical therapy is usually a crucial part of any orthopedic treatment. Because physical therapy is necessary for regaining strength and control of your bones, muscles, and nerves after an injury, it is important to ensure you’re doing all you can to properly rehabilitate your injured body part.
Orthopedic physical therapy is focused primarily on restoring function in muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and joints. It will usually be recommended by an orthopedic surgeon as part of a treatment process or after surgery has been completed. However, there may be injuries or conditions where only physical therapy is necessary.
Let’s take a deeper look at physical therapy and how it relates to orthopedics.
What is Orthopedic Physical Therapy?
If you’ve sustained an injury to your musculoskeletal system, such as a strain or sprain, it can take a bit of time for your body to get back to normal. The process of going through physical therapy can help restore the strength of the injured body part more efficiently.
The goal of physical therapy is to decrease pain, improve functionality, increase range of motion, and increase strength. However, each individual will have unique goals when entering into physical therapy treatment.
Who Needs Orthopedic Physical Therapy?
Someone may seek help from an orthopedic physical therapist if they’ve recently been in an accident, suffered a slip and fall accident, or otherwise injured their musculoskeletal system. However, these kinds of injuries are quite vast.
Typically, an orthopedic surgeon will recommend you see a physical therapist as part of your treatment plan. This can give you a more holistic approach to treatment and get you back on your feet faster.
What Does Orthopedic Physical Therapy Include?
Because orthopedic physical therapy includes treatment for so many kinds of injuries, there are a number of procedures someone may experience while undergoing rehabilitation. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular.
- Exercise: Exercise is one of the most common types of physical therapy treatments. This can include everything from stretching to actively working the muscle to develop strength.
- Ultrasound: While ultrasounds may be most frequently used in pregnancy, they can also help treat an injury. The ultrasound waves can penetrate deep to help heal the injury.
- Electrical Stimulation: Electrical stimulation can help contract muscles to help decrease pain. They can also help muscles restore functionality.
- Massage: Massage can help improve circulation and decrease tension in the muscles. It is frequently used as part of a physical therapy treatment plan.
- Heat & Ice: Heat and ice is another common treatment plan for physical therapy. Both hot packs and cold packs can be applied to injured areas to help reduce swelling, improve circulation, and decrease pain.
Your orthopedic physical therapist will help you create a plan that works for you.
Physical therapy is traditionally a combination of in-person treatments as well as treatments for the patient to do at home. It is common for a physical therapist to assign workouts, stretches, or other treatments for you to do in your own time.