MedWatch Today: Why Physical Therapy is So Important After an Orthopedic Surgery

Med Watch Today

After a surgery, having a personalized physical therapy plan can help ensure your body heals properly.

At Community Health System, patients who undergo orthopedic surgery are encouraged to move within the first day after their procedure. Our physical therapists help patients strengthen their muscles around their new joint and help regain motion.

Fresno resident Michael Yamane spends lots of time at the outpatient physical therapy facility at Clovis Community Medical Center. He’s a FedEx employee and had shoulder surgery last November, and hip surgery this past Spring.

“We do a lot of heavy lifting, so I was loading trucks before all this happen, so I was loading the trucks… TV’s and furniture and swimming pools and all those big heavy things,” described Michael.

Michael explains, after his total hip replacement surgery on his left hip, “The next morning they tried to get you propped up and standing and see if you can step you know I did that slowly,”

Michael works with physical therapist Erika McFarland.

“At Community we have a total joint replacement program, and that’s where the patient is informed prior to going into the surgery they’re informed about what to expect for the surgery and then as far as what to expect afterward as far as rehabilitation goes,” stated Erika.

Erika said when post-surgery patients are in the hospital, a team of physical therapists will help them start to slowly move. Patients walk at first with the help of a walker or crutches.

She continued, “After you’re done at the hospital, then we are able to determine if you need to go home for a little bit more therapy at home, or if you’re high enough functioning, then you can transition into an outpatient physical therapy program.”

In the outpatient physical therapy facility, Erika works with Michael on strengthening and endurance.

“I did a lot of stretching and balancing and just getting my normal rhythm back,” said Michael.

Erika explained, “For balance in particular, we worked on single leg balance, so I have him stand at a counter so he can hold on if he needs to… And that not only helps the hip joint but also his ankle his knee even his core… For his strengthening, we did some squatting, we did some work on the machines, we did like the leg press for him, we had him do hamstring curls.”

Erika said it’s crucial that post-surgery patients stick to their rehabilitation plan because it will help them heal safer and faster. It’s also important to practice what they learn here at home.

“We can help give you the tools to specifically help the muscles that are weak, or the muscles that are tight, or the different joints that need that better movement,” said Erika.

“It helped me gain confidence and I can feel more strength in my legs and before I couldn’t even push myself,” ended Michael.

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