You may have heard of someone attending physiotherapy for a number of reasons such as a sports injury or back pain. While there are many types of physiotherapy for all ages, orthopaedic or musculoskeletal physiotherapy is required for patients following a major hip or knee surgery. Orthopaedic physiotherapy is a specialist technique that focuses on bones and joints, whilst musculoskeletal physiotherapy focuses on muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons. Following a hip or knee surgery, physiotherapy is essential for a good recovery.
Benefits of Physiotherapy
After hip or knee surgery and the first few days of recovery, the joints and supporting muscles will feel stiff, swollen or difficult to move. Studies have shown patients who receive physiotherapy had improved physical function at 3-4 months post-op. Physiotherapy involves performing recommended exercises to improve muscle strength, joint flexibility, balance and coordination, thus improving mobility.
Following hip or knee surgery, patients will experience some level of joint pain and inflammation. Physiotherapy exercises are designed to target specific joints and muscles affected by the surgery. These exercises help strengthen the affected area while promoting blood flow, which helps reduce inflammation and prevent surgical pain from becoming chronic.
Prevents Post-Op Complications
In some cases, infection, blood clots (DVT) and other post-op complications can occur in patients after surgery. Relieving physiotherapy can reduce these debilitating post-op complications by reducing the risk of infection and blood clots.
Provides Emotional Support
Hip and knee surgeries can take a huge toll not only on your physical health but also on your emotional health. Recovering from surgery can be an emotional rollercoaster for many patients, especially if they feel anxious or depressed during their rehabilitation process. Physiotherapists are there for you physically and emotionally by providing emotional support, offering advice to deal with anxiety or depression symptoms and encouraging patient’s progress.
Different Physiotherapy Techniques
Physiotherapists use exercise therapy to help patients improve movement, flexibility and strength while reducing short and long-term pain. Our physiotherapist is trained to ensure each patient receives the correct exercise program while providing them with extra support to carry out the exercises, ensuring each patient gets the most from their physiotherapy sessions.
Aqua therapy or hydrotherapy, involves physiotherapy in a warm-water swimming pool. This is an effective technique as water is gentle on the joints. It helps joints and muscles to relax in a supportive environment and assists in carrying the body’s weight. Hydrotherapy can also offer pain relief in some patients. Hydrotherapy patients do not need to have the ability to swim (although it would be beneficial) as walking around the pool is a simple cardio exercise to get movement in the knee and hip joints. Other hydrotherapy exercises include hip extensions, knee raises and hamstring curls.
Manual therapy is a range of hands-on techniques used by physiotherapists to reduce pain and improve mobility such as massage (physiotherapists use their hands to manipulate and massage the body tissues around the affected area) and joint mobilisation (physiotherapists manually apply targeted pressures or forces on a joint in a specific direction) to help improve the mobility of that joint. Physiotherapists may use manual therapy alongside other techniques including exercise therapy to help boost a patient’s rehabilitation.
Acupuncture refers to the insertion of fine, sterile and single-use needles into specific points of the body (acupuncture points) to help relieve pain and symptoms. It involves stimulating the sensory nerves in the muscles. It works by triggering the nervous system to produce natural substances, such as pain-relieving endorphins. Our physiotherapist is fully trained in delivering acupuncture treatments. Most patients notice a huge difference in their pain after a few acupuncture sessions.
What Can I Expect from the Physiotherapist?
During your consultation, our physiotherapist will start with a full assessment and physical examination to establish the cause and nature of your hip or knee condition. After this, our physiotherapist will look at your medical history and work with your hip or knee surgeon to determine which technique is the most suitable for your needs. Once this has been taken into consideration, our physiotherapist will create a personalised treatment plan of techniques and at-home exercises, including any assistive devices necessary.
It is recommended that patients receive physiotherapy sessions for a minimum of 6 weeks after a hip or knee replacement. It’s important to note that some patients take longer than others as physiotherapy could be required for up to 12 weeks or even longer.