What is post-operative rehabilitation?

Post-operative rehabilitation is a progressive activity that's indicated after orthopaedic surgery. The process is aimed at promoting healing, reducing pain and swelling, and restoring joint mobility, flexibility and strength. Rehabilitation can start anytime from a few hours to a few days after surgery.

A patient's ability to regain strength, motion and return to their everyday activities depends on physical therapy because the body won't regain normal strength and motion without specific retraining. As a physiotherapist in Knysna, Phillo Beukes is trained to help his patients restore range of motion and strength, as well as prevent re-injury during recovery.

What are the stages of rehabilitation?

Even though methods for injury rehabilitation varies according to each patient’s condition and needs, the general framework for rehabilitation is consistent. Stages of rehabilitation include:

  • Rest and protect the injury: This is the first stage of recovery and allows the bosy to begins the healing process by avoiding further damage. This stage includes appropriate rest with the use of ice or cold packs, protective casts, slings or tape to protect the injury.
  • Regain motion: After surgery, you may experience difficulties moving the injured area due to inflammation and pain. Soft tissue and joint mobilisation training are essential for recovering early-stage range of motion. Specific flexibility training that best suits your condition helps regain range of motion and prevent the effects of decreased range of motion on your body's function.
  • Regain your strength: An injury and the recovery period can result in muscle weakness and loss of endurance. Objective measures of muscle weakness are noted after injury and surgery. Minimising muscle loss and strength are essential for rehabilitation goals set during physiotherapy. This involves doing exercises that minimise aggravation, maintain good form and strengthen muscles.
  • Regain function: This is the last step of rehabilitation which includes restoring coordination and balance to improve speed and agility.

“Take care of your body,
and your body will take care of you.”