Most orthopedic injuries and surgeries require rehabilitation to heal. The doctors at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine will discuss the expectations for your recovery, including physical, occupational, or hand therapy.
In an outpatient orthopedic setting, there is a lot of overlap between a physical and occupational therapist, or an occupational and hand therapist. In general, an occupational therapist (OT) focuses more on helping you perform your activities of daily living, such as getting dressed, bathing, cleaning, and cooking so that you can remain independent. An OT may also help you learn how to use assistive devices or make recommendations on how to modify your home or workplace to prevent injuries.
If you suffer a sports injury, a PT will focus on helping you regain the movement, strength, and endurance necessary for you to safely return to your sport. A physical therapist may employ treatments including therapeutic exercise, manual therapy such as massage and joint mobilization, or modalities such as ice, heat, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation.
A certified hand therapist (CHT) focuses exclusively on the hand, wrist, and arm. A CHT has additional years of specialized training and earned certification in rehabilitation techniques for complex hand injuries and disorders. Occupational therapists with advanced training and skills in hand therapy may also perform these services in an outpatient orthopedic clinic.
Whichever type of therapist you work with, their goal is to help relieve your pain, restore function and mobility to the affected body part, and improve your quality of life.
Post Surgical Rehabilitation
Following most any surgery, your orthopedist will refer you to a physical, occupational, or hand therapist to facilitate your recovery. The length of time you are in rehab will depend on the type of surgery you had, as well as your physical condition and health status prior to surgery.
Two of the most common surgeries our doctors perform are arthroscopy and total joint replacement. Since arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure, it typically takes less time to recover from this type of surgery than it does from surgery that involves a large incision. Many patients can go back to work or school or resume their daily activities within a few days of arthroscopic surgery, while athletes may be able to return to their sport within a few weeks.
If you have had a total hip or knee replacement, you will likely stand and begin walking the day of or the day after surgery. You will begin with support from your therapist, a walker, crutches, or a cane, and progress until you no longer need assistance. If you had a shoulder replacement, you will wear a splint for several weeks after surgery. A therapist will help you gently move your arm the day after surgery.
After you return home, you will participate in rehab at an outpatient facility or at home with a therapist sent from a home health agency. It may take a few weeks or months for the tissues to heal and for your muscles to regain their strength. Your therapist will prescribe exercises for you to perform at home between sessions.
The orthopedic surgeons at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine will work closely with your therapist and monitor your progress. We want you to have a complete recovery and be pain-free so you can live your life to the fullest.
Contact Us to Start Your Orthopedic Rehabilitation Program
If you have specific questions or concerns regarding your rehabilitation program, call us at (210) 692-7400 and your doctor will be happy to discuss them with you.