Orthopedic rehab is a process designed to help patients restore balance, mobility, and function in the joints, limbs, and entire musculoskeletal system. While it’s primarily used after an operation or a traumatic injury, this form of rehab also helps people who have degenerative diseases. Whether you’re recovering from a hip operation or broken ankle or receiving treatment for an ongoing health condition, orthopedic rehab can help you be more active and get more out of life.
Who Can Benefit From Orthopedic Rehab?
Orthopedic rehab can benefit patients of all ages. At Integrative Spine and Sports Miami, we specialize in outpatient orthopedic rehab for adult patients. We have provided successful orthopedic rehabilitation for patients from all walks of life, including athletes, weekend warriors, and seniors.
What Conditions Does Orthopedic Rehab Treat?
Orthopedic rehab treats both upper and lower body issues. In the upper body, neck, shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand conditions are ideal for this form of treatment. Common lower body issues seen in orthopedic rehab include spinal, hip, knee, ankle, and foot ailments.
Orthopedic rehab effectively treats home, workplace, and sports injuries, and it is also suitable for the management of traumatic injuries such as fractures or crush injuries from accidents. This form of rehab is often essential for patients recovering from joint replacement surgeries and spinal operations.
Which Doctors Provide Outpatient Orthopedic Rehab?
Outpatient orthopedic rehabilitation is typically provided by sports medicine doctors and physiatrists. These doctors are specialists in all aspects of the musculoskeletal system and have expertise in physical medicine. At our physiatrist Miami office, our team of specialists includes physiatrists and nurses, and we provide comprehensive spinal care and physical therapy tailored to the needs of each patient.
What Are the Advantages of Outpatient Rehab?
Outpatient rehab allows the patient to access a high level of care without the inconvenience of inpatient rehab. It is often much less expensive than inpatient rehab, and it can be easier for the patient’s family and caregivers as well. Rather than being in a hospital or rehabilitation center for weeks, patients who choose outpatient orthopedic rehabilitation can recover in the comfort of their own home.
What Can I Expect at My First Orthopedic Rehab Session?
As a new patient, your first orthopedic rehab session will begin with a thorough health history and clinical assessment. You’ll fill out a health history form that asks questions about any recent surgeries, accidents, or injuries that you have had. You’ll also be asked about all medications you’re currently taking and about your personal and family history of arthritis, musculoskeletal problems, and other ailments. Your clinician will review this with you.
Next, the clinician will assess your injury or surgical site. He or she will gently feel the area for pain, swelling, or nodules, and you’ll be asked if you have any soreness. The doctor will gently guide you through a series of tests to check your joint and muscle function, sensation, range of motion, and strength. After this assessment, the doctor will formulate a treatment plan and rehab schedule for you.
You may be shown some gentle movement exercises to practice in advance of your next appointment. The doctor will tell you how often to perform these and how many repetitions to complete. You may be advised to purchase a splint or other orthotic device to promote healing.
What Types of Therapies Are Used in Orthopedic Rehab?
Orthopedic rehab combines physical therapy with gentle exercise, and it also includes practical work designed to help patients regain independence in daily life. Pain relieving therapies, including the use of ice, heat, ultrasound, and spinal injections, may also be offered according to the patient’s individual needs.
Most patients start each rehab session with physical therapy. Generally, these sessions may last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. Depending on the injury, patients might begin the session by lying on an exam table. The clinician will then move the affected area through passive exercises. After this, the patient may be asked to perform the same exercises under the therapist’s supervision.
Depending on the stage of healing, the therapist may spend part of the session showing the patient new stretches or strengthening exercises to incorporate into his or her home recovery routine. Weights or elastic bands may be used for some of these exercises.
A large part of orthopedic rehab is dedicated to helping patients with practical tasks. Therefore, a rehab session may devote considerable time to helping the patient with learning to walk or improving grip strength. Patients who are learning to walk after joint replacement may spend time walking while supported by the therapist, and they will then be shown how to use a walker or cane as needed. Therapists will also teach patients how to go up and down stairs in a safe manner. Individuals who are improving grip strength may spend time in physical therapy with learning to grasp objects or hold objects of increasing weight.
Balance and proprioception therapies are particularly useful for patients with degenerative diseases and to those recovering from spinal and joint surgeries. These therapies help the patient increase his or her awareness of where the body is in space. The therapy may involve tasks like learning to stand without falling, standing on one foot, or raising and lowering the foot or knee.
How Long Will I Need to Receive Orthopedic Rehab?
The length of orthopedic rehab at our spine doctor Miami office will vary depending on your injury. For upper body injuries and ailments like overuse syndrome or simple fractures, therapy may take only a few weeks. For more complicated cases and postsurgical recovery, you may need sessions for several months.
Your doctor will continually assess your healing and progress at every session. He or she will keep you informed at each stage and let you know when it is appropriate to conclude rehab. If you have questions about any aspect of your rehab, always reach out to your medical team.