Orthopedic physical therapy is an important part of recovering from joint replacement surgery. This type of therapy targets your musculoskeletal system, including your joints, to help you heal properly from surgery and injuries. Here's why orthopedic physical therapy is important after surgery and what you might expect with your therapy.

Physical Therapy Is Important For Proper Healing 

Orthopedic physical therapy may start the same day as your surgery depending on your condition. Movement is essential for proper healing and for preventing surgical complications. If you don't comply with therapy, your joint might be more stiff and painful. Adhesions might form and your joint may not heal properly. If stiffness and pain persist, you may alter your gait, and that could affect your balance or cause you to have back, hip, or leg pain.

You Might Need Several Weeks Of Therapy

You might take therapy at a rehab center, outpatient clinic, or at home. You might need several weeks of therapy since you'll need to start out slow and progress over time as you get stronger and as the pain becomes less bothersome. It's important to complete therapy as ordered by your doctor to have the best chance of healing properly so you can resume an active lifestyle without joint pain and with a full joint range of motion.

You Might Even Start Before Surgery 

The biggest part of your orthopedic physical therapy will be after your surgery. In some cases, your doctor might want you to start therapy before your surgery. This helps you learn exercises and prepares you for what's to come after surgery. The therapy can also strengthen your muscles so your joint area is stronger and able to tolerate the surgery better.

Orthopedic Physical Therapy Involves Exercise

Things you might do after your joint surgery include walking, stretching, aerobic exercise when you're able, strengthening exercises, and balance work. You'll not only focus on your joint, your therapist also has you do other exercises as needed to balance muscle strength and to correct postural problems you might have so your body is in good shape and can support your joint as well as possible.

Your therapist will probably have you do exercises at home between your therapy sessions. You might only go to the clinic a couple of times a week, so you'll need to exercise at home the other days. Following the directions of your therapist is important so you can recover as quickly as possible and resume your usual routine. You don't want to push yourself too hard, but you don't want to slack off before you've fully recovered.