Post Surgical Physical Therapy


Post-Surgical strength with movement vs. no movement over a 52 week span.

Every doctor treats post surgical rehab differently. Some are conservative, some aggressive, but which is more beneficial? There are very few fields with more disagreement than healthcare. If you go to 5 different doctors, you will often get 4-5 different answers. Based on our experience with surgical cases and recent research, it seems a more aggressive approach can lead to long term success. When looking at tendon and ligament damage, recent research has suggested that if you can put small amounts of force into the healing tissue it will gain strength quicker and achieve a higher potential. In this way, putting small amount of forces into the tissue only weeks after surgery can possibly lead to fuller recoveries. Caution must be exercised when dealing with recently repaired tissue, but under proper guidance there can be a large payoff.

When a tendon is healing, stem cells are present to form the correct type of cell needed in recovery. Stem cells are made aware of their role based on the demands that are placed on them. It is believed that when no input or force is placed on these new stem cells, they become fat cells instead, unaware of their original purpose. Fat cells will cushion the healing tissue, but they will not provide strength or long term durability. If one accepts that stem cells need force to guide them to the correct end point, then one can see why early movement of the healing tissue can be critical to the long term success of rehab. In our office we put manual force into healing tissue and we encourage movement around the damaged joint in order to facilitate proper tissue function. With most of our post surgical cases, we have been well ahead of the recovery schedule (depending on patient compliance). We have also noted that many people feel better after surgery and rehab than they did before their initial injury.

Know someone who is recovering from surgery? We are more than happy to help get them going in the right direction. Give us a call.

For more information on this subject – visit this website for a very interesting article:

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