What is physical therapy?
Knee surgery repairs the damage or restores function, often with an artificial or replacement part. From there, the knee will need time not only to heal but to regain normal movement. Physical therapy combines medicine and science to treat an injury using physical means. The practice comprises a collection of techniques that include massage, exercise, heat therapy, patient education, and prevention. With physical therapy, patients can restore the best possible movement and use of the limb. Here are some reasons where physical therapy is crucial.
Restore mobility and flexibility
After knee surgery, patients will lose considerable mobility and flexibility. A restored ACL or knee cap, for example, can cause significant pain during movement. Without physical therapy, the knee will be repaired, but the activity will be limited. Physical therapy uses massage and flexibility exercises to improve the long-term mobility of the leg.
Regain your strength
After surgery, the muscles in the leg can atrophy, which can limit movement. A weakened knee can also create more stress on the opposite leg. Muscle weakness and atrophy can specifically affect athletic performance. Athletes need to restore strength, and physical therapy can help. With a combination of strength training, massage, rest, and exercise, physical therapy make the knee and leg feel more robust than ever.
Pain, swelling, and scars
With any surgery, there is usually pain and swelling at the surgical site. Regardless of the size of the incision, the body will still react to the cut. The body will respond by sending repair cells to the surgical site. These cells cause swelling, pain, and inflammation. Furthermore, gravity sends more fluid to the leg. Massage, stretching, and flexibility exercises can help improve blood flow and reduce pain. Massage therapy also helps with reducing the formation of scar tissue, which can further impact mobility.
Physical therapy keeps recovery on schedule
Based on the type of knee surgery, knee surgery recovery can take from 3-6 months. This timeline is dependent on other factors besides repairing the damage. For instance, therapy reduces blood flow and slows healing at the surgical site. Physical therapy helps with circulation, which can reduce blood clots and infections. This keeps recovery on time and helps patients get back to everyday life.
Lean on physical therapy today
Knee surgery can relieve pain and replace a degraded or damaged joint. But surgery is just the start. Physical therapy can help with improving strength, flexibility, and mobility. If surgery is in the cards, speak with the doctor or surgeon about physical therapy options. Getting the right physical therapist and a unique program can speed up recovery and help the knee feel good as new.