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Pre-Operative Therapy: “Pre-hab”

So we did physical therapy a year ago and it helped to keep from having surgery last year, but our pain has returned and we’re back to missing out on the things we were able to do some time ago. we aren’t able to ride your bike for cardio anymore, we have an immense amount of pain going up and down the stairs in our home, road trips are just NOT a thing anymore, and most importantly we are no longer able to get down on the floor to play with our grandkids!

You’ve had enough to decide to re-visit your doctor to see what you can do about this awful pain.

Low and behold, they say, “It’s time for a knee replacement.”

You’ve been dreading those words forever and done everything you can to avoid it, but now is the time, So you heat the doctor out and schedule out the day for your knee replacement, which happens to be 2 months away because of a busy schedule. So what’s next?

PRE-OPERATIVE PHYSICAL THERAPY! What, why? “Don’t I have to do therapy after my surgery?” 

Pre-operative Physical therapy is done before you head into the operating room. During these sessions you will:

  • Be educated on what to expect and what will happen in therapy after surgery.
  • Be taught basic post operative exercises.
  • Be educated and taught how to walk with assisted devices.
  • Learn exercises to help strengthen the muscles around the knee.

The “why?” circles us back to building a strong foundation to work from on day one.

Imagine going into surgery after only hearing a brief synopsis and the words, “you’ll be walking out of here” from the surgeon, only to wake up with you leg completely bandaged, swollen, and a walker in front of you that you have no idea how to use… scary right? Now let’s picture that same scenario afterwards, but you are now educated with more details on the process, how you’ll feel, and what you’ll see, as well as knowing how to maneuver the walker safely and effectively.

Strengthening in “Pre-hab”

For knee replacements, it’s most important to learn how to activate the quadriceps, keep up with range of motion, and build as much hip strength as possible, without causing too much additional pain. The quadriceps muscle is a primary mover of the lower leg and allows for better functional performance. During a knee replacement, the quadriceps muscle is impacted in order to access the knee joint and insert the artificial knee, which disrupts the strength.

For visual purposes, you can’t fully straighten, raise, or walk on your leg appropriately without a strong quadriceps muscle. Now let’s say instead of doing nothing between now and your surgery date, you’ve been in therapy increasing quadriceps and hip strength as well as learning exercises to do immediately out of surgery. Therapy has taught you how to walk out of the recovery room with less concerns and more confidence in yourself!

Cierra Washington, ATC

Physical therapy is just as beneficial before surgery, as it is after. Don’t wait, call LSTC today at, 703-450-4300 to schedule your appointment! Our expert physical therapists will educate you on what to expect with your surgery, teach you how to use assisted devices, and get you started on strength exercises to reduce your recovery time!

Click HERE for more information! 

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