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The Importance of Physical Therapy

May 17th, 2016 | HandSurgeon Admin


Like peanut butter is to jelly orthopedics is to physical therapy. Although each can exist without the other they are best when combined. The duration and timing of therapy is most successful when directed by an experienced physician responsible for diagnosis and treatment. The more specialized the orthopedic surgeon and the therapist the more tailored your care will be.

Advances in orthopedics are mainly attributable to improvements in the timing and type of therapy following surgery or injury. In the case of injured hands, I will frequently start therapy one day after the surgery or injury. The human body responds to injury with swelling and inflammation. This frequently will impede range of motion. Not moving an injured limb will result in stiffness of joints and ultimately atrophy of muscles. Early supervised motion and treatment of inflammation by a therapist is the key to regaining maximal motion and maintaining muscle mass.

Often times patient will ask how longĀ it takes to heal and recover from an injury. The answer depends on the definition of heal and recover. Generally speaking it can take one to two years to maximally heal and recover from a significant extremity injury. Curtailing a home exercise program prematurely can negate the gains made while supervised. Continuing physical therapy exercises will guarantee the best possible outcome. I frequently remind patients that although the therapist and I have not personally experienced a similar injury we have treated thousands of patients and we know what to do and when to do it.