If you’re planning on having surgery such as a total knee replacement, shoulder replacement, or lumbar fusion, just to name a few, having physical therapy before as well as after surgery, gives you great benefits.
A new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2015) followed patients who participated in presurgical and postsurgical physical therapy. The researchers involved monitored 84 patients between 2007 and 2011 who received pre and post operative PT with 2,690 patients who received usual care between 2006 and 2010. What they found was patients who had physical therapy before surgery had much better outcomes after surgery than patients who only had PT after surgery. Specifically, they found that patients who underwent a 5-week preoperative rehabilitation program, followed by a year long progressive rehabilitation program after surgery, scored significantly better at certain measurement points during PT.
Even better, the pre and post operative rehabilitation program gave not just better short term outcomes, but much better long term as well. The authors of the study reported that “Compared to usual care, [the rehabilitation cohort] had superior preoperative patient-reported knee function, and still exhibited superior … function 2 years after the surgery, with 86–94% of patients scoring within the normative range…”
So if you have an injury that your doctor determined needs surgery, talk to him or her about taking part in pre-operative PT. You’ll heal faster and have a better chance of getting fully back to normal. If need be, talk to a physical therapist about it as well. All of our patient receive individualized treatment plans. Your therapist will work with your doctor and surgeon to come up with the best course of therapy for your needs.
It’s important to not only do PREHAB to prepare for surgery, but also prepare your home.
Pre-Surgical Home Preparation
Prior to your surgery there are a few simple things you can do to make your home safer and more comfortable as you recover from your surgery.
- Consider keeping a cordless phone near you or carry your cell phone in your pocket.
- Move furniture to keep a clear wide path to your kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.
- Remove throw rugs that may cause you to slip or trip. Tape down any loose edges of large area rugs that cannot be removed. Make sure extension cords are out of traffic areas or tape them down if needed.
- Wear rubber sole shoes to prevent slipping.
- Keep commonly used items in your home at waist level within easy reach. This will prevent you from bending over to reach items. Use a reacher to grab objects and avoid excessive bending at the knee.
- Make sure there is adequate lighting in the house. Add night lights in hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
- It may be helpful to have temporary living space on the same floor if your bedroom/bathroom is located on the second floor of your home. Walking up/down stairs will be more difficult immediately following surgery and could increase your risk for falls.
- Arrange for someone to collect your mail and take care of pets or loved ones if necessary.
- Prepare frozen meals in advance to assist you with cooking.
- Stock up on groceries, toiletries, and any needed medications you might need.
- A shower chair or a tub bench will make bathing much easier. Do not take soak baths until your physician allows you to do so.
- An elevated toilet seat will be helpful with toilet transfers and with following post surgical precautions or guidelines.
- Assistive devices for dressing such as a reacher, extended shoe horn and / or sock aid may be necessary during your post operative recovery.
Anytime you’re having surgery, it can be a stressful journey, but it doesn’t have to. The more you’re prepared, the better outcomes you’ll have. You can count on us being with you every step of your journey! If you’re having surgery, schedule a Free Assessment and get a PT on your team to help you!