Orthopedic surgeries are used to correct problems with bones, ligaments, tendons and joints. Rehabilitation with a physical therapist is often needed right after surgery to help your child get better. Rehabilitation may last for several weeks. The surgeon or doctor caring for your child will help direct the therapy.
Depending on the type of surgery and the body part involved, symptoms will vary. The body’s response to any injury includes inflammation and pain. Having to rest during recovery, and having a cast or splint on an extremity during healing, can cause tight muscles and fatigue.
The Physical Therapy evaluation usually happens shortly after the surgery. Your child should wear loose clothing that they can move in and that will allow the therapist to see the surgical site.
The therapist will ask you about the history of the injury and surgery. They will discuss how the surgery has affected your child’s ability to do daily activities. The therapist will take measurements of how well your child moves, their strength and endurance. The therapist will ask about pain. The therapist will discuss therapy goals with you and together you will decide on a plan of care.
Common rehab treatment interventions:
Treatment varies according to the type of surgery. Many surgeons have a protocol they provide to direct therapist. Treatment may include but is not limited to; management of pain and swelling, crutch training helping your child to move, strengthening activities, walking activities, and stair training. The therapist might use massage, heat, ice, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation. As your child heals and gets stronger the therapy will focus more on being able to perform daily activities.