Committing to physical therapy after knee surgery will boost your outcomes
The knees are built for durability, but they also take on a fairly constant array of strain throughout the course of a normal day. When structures within the knee joint are pushed past their limits, they can become damaged through various injuries. And due to the frequency that the knees are used, knee pain of any type ranks as the second most common disorder affecting the body’s movement, behind only back pain.
The Knee Sometimes Requires Surgery and Physical Therapy Afterward
The knee is a hinge joint that’s responsible for bearing weight and allowing the leg to extend and bend back and forth with minimal side-to-side motion. It primarily joins the thigh bone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia), but also includes the kneecap (patella) and other lower leg bone (fibula). Other important structures of the knee joint include the meniscus, which acts as a cushion and shock absorber, a thin layer of protective articular cartilage that helps bones to move smoothly, plus several muscles, tendons, and ligaments—including the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)—which connect bones and stabilize them by preventing too much motion in any direction.
Any of these structures can become damaged, either through a traumatic incident, due to sustained wear and tear over time, or from a combination of both factors. Knee osteoarthritis—in which articular cartilage gradually wears away and leaves bones more vulnerable—is by far the most prevalent knee condition, particularly later in life.
Common Knee Injuries that Respond to Physical Therapy
Strains, sprains, and tears of knee ligaments and the meniscus are particularly common in athletes and active individuals, as are runner’s knee, jumper’s knee, and iliotibial band syndrome.
If you happen to experience a knee injury of any sort, it’s important to understand that you have options. Many knee-related conditions can be managed effectively with (conservative) non-surgical interventions like physical therapy, and this approach is generally recommended for most patients.
However, if conservative treatments don’t lead to notable improvements or in the event more serious injuries like a severe ACL tear or advanced knee osteoarthritis, surgery may be needed. ACL tears are typically treated with a surgical procedure called ACL reconstruction, while advanced knee osteoarthritis is most often managed with a total knee replacement.
Reap all the benefits of surgery through personalized physical therapy after knee surgery in Visalia
While surgery can lead to significant improvements, the buck does not end there. In order to experience the best possible outcome, you will also need to complete a course of physical therapy after surgery. Your physical therapy program will be personalized based on your needs and abilities, will help you work towards your goals, whether that’s getting back on the playing field or being able to play with your grandkids again. Knee surgery rehabilitation programs will vary depending on the surgery performed, but several components are likely to be involved:
- Strengthening exercises to build back up the weakened muscles of the leg
- Stretching and range of motion exercises to increase flexibility and regain normal mobility that may have been lost
- Plyometrics, or jump training, for patients recovering from ACL tears
- Recommendations on how to modify your activities in order to minimize the risk for future injuries
- Exercises to improve body awareness, balance and neuromuscular control, which is the body’s ability to stay strong and stable during all movements
- Activity-specific training for athletes and active individuals
Be sure to consider all treatment options available and evaluate the risks and benefits of each before determining if surgery is right for you. And remember that if you opt for surgery, adhering to your physical therapy plan afterwards can significantly increase the chances of a positive outcome.
Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about how we manage patients recovering from knee surgery or to schedule an appointment today.
Call Us in Visalia at (559) 733-2478 or Hanford at (559) 582-1027 for More Information