Just had a knee/shoulder surgery? Find out what a good physio/rehab program should have

Did you just had a knee/shoulder/back or ankle surgery and now feeling that you are worse than before the surgery?  Or did you had the surgery done couple of months ago and feel that your progress has become stagnant? Your rehab could be missing some of these elements.

If you are reading this after you had your surgery, you would have known by now that after your orthopedic surgery, you are now faced with the mammoth task of getting back in shape (literally and functionally).

Many people will simply be at a lost if they were to attempt this process on their own, with many not knowing where and how to start. Hence you are very much encouraged to work closely with a Singapore Physio to embark on a good rehabilitation program once you are discharged from the hospital.

physiotherapist exam patients knee. patient with knee injury visit his physiotherapist

A good rehabilitation program, in essence need to be specifically tailored, well taught and closely followed through by the patient in order for it to be successful. This would ultimately help the patient to regain complete function at the desired level. The main focus of a good rehabilitation program is for one to regain physical function. A good rehabilitation program should have several key features.

It has to make sense to you

Starting from the analysis of your condition, pain and movement patterns; the explanation given to you has to make sense to you. If you understand the problems and what is going wrong, you will be more likely to follow through the program to achieve the end results. In other words, you will be more compliant.

It has to be both challenging and achievable

Every exercise one does need to challenge both physically and mentally to elicit progression. Constant changes in movement patterns stimulate the brain and if an exercise becomes too simple, the brain and body become too used to it, rendering it not as useful for functional rehabilitation.

It has to be reviewed closely and progressed gradually

Pain and surgery tend to result in mal-adaptations in movement patterns (e.g. hip hiking/ limping) and can persist for quite a period of time even after the injury has healed. Your physiotherapist would need to first work on correcting these poor movement patterns and ensure that sufficient practice is done for these movements to be “normalized”. Your physiotherapist needs to ensure that the basics are cleared before progressing your rehabilitation program.

It must include clear exercises and instructions

Ensuring that the exercises done are accurate and precise plays a huge role in the success of the rehabilitation. These are usually delivered via drawings or print outs of the exercises. However with modern day technology, video recordings of the exercises prove to be more informative and well received by patients. There are also several online platforms that provide access to a library of exercises and videos for patients to review their exercises taught.

It has to be relevant

As one’s rehabilitation progresses; the exercises have to become more specific to the client’s functional goals. For example, rehabilitation would be focused on agility and cutting drills for a soccer player to help him return to competitive soccer compared to more balance and strength focused rehabilitation for an elderly person to help him return to pain-free independent daily living.

It has to have periodic outcome measures

As one’s rehabilitation progresses; these outcome measures will provide a platform for your physiotherapist and yourself to track the progress of your rehabilitation. These outcome measures are usually measurable and easily reproducible. For example, tracking the number of single leg squats done in 1 minute at 3 months versus 5 months post surgery will give us an idea of the improvements of one’s single leg balance and strength.

Portrait of an athletic woman stretching legs before exercise outdoors. Sport and healthy lifestyle.

Clear and regular communication with your doctor

It is important for your physiotherapist to have clear and regular communication with your doctor to ensure that everyone is on the same page for your rehabilitation. Details such as range and weight-bearing limitations are essential for your physiotherapist to come up with a specific and safe program, especially at the beginning of your rehabilitation. Such regular communication will increase the confidence of everyone (patient, physiotherapist and doctor) involved in the recovery process.

Regular rehab sessions

For the program to be successful, consistency is the key. Not only consistency in the exercises done, but this also applies to one having regular weekly sessions especially at the start of rehab. These weekly sessions will facilitate the recovery and ensure that the patient is able to achieve the necessary milestones for their condition.

Post Surgery Rehabilitation

Our BMJ physiotherapists are experience and experts in rehabilitation program for most orthopaedic conditions.  We make sure that our post surgery physiotherapy program covers the points above to help you excel in your rehab.

Vanessa Goh

Principal Physiotherapist

Vanessa Goh, writes with the patients in her mind. The chatty and bubbly physiotherapist brings not only top notch physio treatment and also lots of laughter to her sessions. Happy patients recover faster, its true!
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