Physical therapy after surgery is almost always recommended, but it’s not always the top priority for patients. Undergoing a surgical procedure can be traumatic, both physically and emotionally, so many people naturally focus on the operation itself and not the recovery. However, the rehabilitation process is just as important as a successful procedure when it comes to achieving a full recovery.Read More >
Hot and cold therapy, also known as contrast therapy, is a treatment approach that alternates the application of therapeutic heat and cold to provide physiological benefits. But not everyone fully understands how contrast therapy can help in a myriad of ways. That’s why we’ve put together the Why Does Hot and Cold Therapy Work? infographic to help give you an understanding of contrast therapy basics as well as provide the answers to your most common questions, such as:Read More >
Physical therapy is an important part of the injury recovery process, but it’s not a magic bullet. You must actively participate in your own recovery, in conjunction with your physical therapist, in order to return to normal activity as quickly as possible. One way to do this is to be sure that you are fully informed about what to do, what not to do, and what you still need to learn in a physical therapy setting.Read More >
If you are an orthopedic surgeon or physical therapist who recommends cryotherapy treatment as part of a comprehensive recovery plan, you probably know the challenges your patients face when determining how to pay for it. Whether they are being treated in the hospital, a physical therapy clinic, or in their own home, insurance doesn’t always cover the cost of cryotherapy treatment. Being armed with some information about other alternatives can help you better navigate the various payment options with your patients.Read More >
Spinal cord injuries can range from relatively minor conditions such as whiplash to extreme damage that causes full or partial paralysis. For the acute injuries that can be treated, you want to recover as quickly as possible to regain range of motion, eliminate pain, and return to normal daily activity.
Whether you are strengthening or stretching, it is important to follow your therapist's instructions carefully as introducing too much activity too quickly can hinder the MCL recovery process.
7 Stretching Exercises for After MCL SurgerySome of the stretching exercises your physical therapist might recommend include:
- Heel prop - Knee hyperextension is one component of proper full range of motion. The heel prop and the next two exercises are designed to improve knee hyperextension. The heel prop is a passive stretching exercise in which your leg rests on a bolster placed at the ankle. Because your foot is slightly elevated, your knee is allowed to be slightly hyperextended. Work with your physical therapist to ensure that you select a correctly sized bolster for this exercise.
- Towel stretch - Using a towel or other static strap wrapped loosely around the ball of your foot, gently pull your toes toward you and allow the knee to hyperextend.
- Active hyperextension - The goal of this exercise is to achieve the same effect as the towel stretch without using a device. With both legs flat while sitting up, using the strength in your quadriceps muscles, lift your heels off the floor.
- Heel slide - Knee flexion is just as important as extension. While lying flat on your back with your knees bent, use a towel or other device to gently pull your heels toward your body.
- Quadriceps stretch - Lay on your side and slightly bend both knees to find a stable position. Deepen the bend in the top leg and bring your heel toward your thigh, gently stretching your muscles in the front of the thigh.
- Hamstring stretch - Lay on your back and bend both knees with your feet flat on the floor. Straighten one leg and use a towel or strap to slowly bring it closer to your body until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh.
- Calf stretch - Stand facing a wall and bring one foot in front of the other as if you were going to do a lunge. Bend the front leg while keeping the back knee straight and push against the wall while keeping your back heel on the floor.
All of these stretches can be done in combination with other activities that will help you recover more quickly, including active cold and compression therapy. After a physical therapy session, using cryotherapy and compression can help reduce the pain and swelling that you are likely to experience after MCL surgery.
For information about how the Game Ready system provides active cold and compression therapy, ask your doctor or find a provider near you. Having Game Ready lined up before your MCL surgery will help make recovery easier and faster.
What other stretches do you plan to do after MCL surgery?
So what do you need to be safe and comfortable for post-op knee surgery?
6 Things You Need After Knee Surgery
- Rest - After knee surgery you need to rest both your knee and your body. Limiting activity and getting ample sleep will allow your body to dedicate as much energy as possible to repairing itself. This is especially important in the first several days after surgery. If necessary, change your schedule to accommodate less activity.
- Healthy food - Your body will need all the valuable nutrients it can get during the recovery process. Focus on good nutrition with balanced meals that are rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Pain medication - Your doctor will likely prescribe some pain medication, especially for the initial stages of post-op knee surgery. Maintain an open line of communication to ensure that you get the right types and amounts of medication during this time.
- Cold compression therapy - Active cold and compression combine two important therapies for faster healing. This type of therapy can also reduce pain and swelling immediately after knee surgery, so be sure to talk to your doctor about your options before you go in for surgery.
- Physical therapy - Although you need to get ample rest, you must also participate in a physical therapy program that will help you regain full range of motion. Your physical therapist will also prescribe exercises that will help rebuild stability, strength, and flexibility.
- Knee brace - Post-op knee braces are designed to completely immobilize the joint after surgery. After the initial healing phase, you can wear a brace that allows more mobility. Your doctor and physical therapist can help you decide which type of brace is right for you.
Of course, you might also want to plan for some entertainment in the first few weeks after surgery while you need to rest your knee as much as possible. You should also think about how your house is laid out and make any necessary provisions. For example, consider temporarily living on only the first level of your home to avoid stairs as much as possible.
Work with your doctor and physical therapist to ensure that you have everything you need before your knee surgery. Pick up any prescriptions you will need, select a knee brace that fits, and make sure you have a cold and compression system reserved for your physical therapy sessions. You can also rent a system to keep at home during your recovery. Find a Game Ready provider near you to get started.
What else might you need for post-op knee surgery?
Six Ways to Make Back Surgery Recovery Easier
The more prepared you are, the smoother your recovery will be. Follow these tips to help you get ready before your back surgery:
Surgery to repair and reconstruct your anterior cruciate ligament is often needed because doctors find that an untreated ACL tear leads to knee instability, recurring injury, or damage to other parts of the knee. Vigorous people who want to regain a physically-active life often opt for ACL surgery and commit to the required physical therapy. Rehab following ACL surgery isn’t quick and easy; fortunately, excellent rehab technologies are available, such as one that combines cold and compression therapy to speed up ACL surgery recovery.
Why are you sitting on the couch? Maybe you sprained your ankle when you took a tumble down the ski slope. Maybe you overstretched your knee ligament during a rowdy basketball game with buddies. Or, possibly you’re recovering from surgery to repair a torn shoulder rotator cuff caused by your physically-demanding job. Whatever the cause of your injury, it’s important to use all the tools available today to help with the healing process.