Why post-operative rehabilitation is crucial in making a full recovery

Why Post-Operative Rehabilitation is Crucial in Making a Full Recovery

Post-operative rehabilitation after sustaining an injury can be of greater importance than the surgery itself. Surgeries such as rotator cuff repair, arthroscopies, spinal surgeries, knee reconstructions and joint replacements typically require intensive physiotherapy rehabilitation in order to achieve optimal recovery and return to full function.

Failing to follow a proper post-op program may present a risk of developing excess oedema or fluid build-up, joint stiffness, muscle wasting and ongoing pain. Undergoing a rehabilitation program is also good from a psychological point of view, as it allows patients to regain their independence and address any concerns or anxieties that may have arisen following injury and surgery.

There are several factors integral in a successful recovery post-op. One of the most important aspects from a physiotherapy perspective is education in terms of timelines and expectations. Having the patient know exactly what to expect when, is key to their recovery. The rehabilitation timeline that will be given will also depend on the patient’s ability and activity level prior to surgery, among other factors.

Physiotherapy management typically involves soft tissue release, joint mobilisation, and specific rehabilitation exercises. Once the patient reaches a certain stage in their recovery, there is a shift in focus to a more specific exercise program to achieve optimum function. This will be individualised to the patient based on their goals, whether that be returning a particular sport or returning to hobbies such as gardening.