Whether you have suffered an injury as a result of playing sports or a car crash or you have a chronic condition you are seeking to manage, you may find yourself visiting an orthopedic physiotherapist. Your treatment at this provider will be focused on helping you to build or rebuild strength, flexibility, and range of motion in order to get you back on your feet and able to enjoy normal daily activities. If you’ve never done physiotherapy before, you may be unsure of what to expect from treatment. While there is a large range of treatment options, we’ve highlighted some of the most common you may encounter.
What is Orthopedic Physiotherapy?
Orthopedic Physiotherapy is a medical practice that specifically focuses on the correction of deformities or functional impairments to the skeletal system, particularly the extremities and the spine or associated structures like muscles and ligaments. Essentially, they focus on the musculoskeletal system. An orthopedic physiotherapist has the education and skills to evaluate and treat conditions or injuries involving the skeleton, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia. The goal of treatment is to improve the function of these systems.
You may see an orthopedic physiotherapist for knee injuries, hip conditions, foot and ankle conditions, arm wrist or hand injuries, shoulder problems, spinal issues, or other related conditions. Any illness or injury that impacts your ability to move or conduct daily activities, you could benefit from these forms of treatment.
1. Therapeutic Modalities
These are a range of tools that your doctor may use to general healing. You will likely recognize some of these treatments as home remedies like the use of alternating hot and cold packs on the affected area. There are also devices that can apply pressure or cooling or electrical stimulation that may be used during your appointments. Ultrasound can also be a common tool.
While these are often simple methods, they can be used to improve blood flow and flexibility, reduce swelling, increase relaxation, and reduce pain levels. All of these benefits can lead to faster healing times and a better ability to perform normal functions during your treatment.
2. Assessment and Evaluations
You may expect to undergo a physical examination at the beginning of your treatment, and you would certainly be right. Getting an understanding of your symptoms, how you move, and your daily life and needs will be one of the first steps your orthopedic physiotherapist takes. However, evaluations will also be an ongoing part of your treatment. You will regularly be assessed against your treatment goals to note current levels of pain, range of motion, strength, balance, and posture.
3. Assistive Devices
Based on your condition and needs, physiotherapy may also involve devices that can help you outside of the office. Canes, walkers, crutches, slings, or braces may be prescribed to use during exercises and at home. These can help to support your healing and prevent future injury or worsening of your condition if needed.
4. Mobilization and Massage
While your instinct may be to rest an injury, it is actually a key part of healing to get your muscles and joints moving in safe ways. Physiotherapy often encourages this by using soft tissue massage to alleviate stiffness and promote better blood flow. This may be paired with hands-on manual therapy, in which the joints and muscles are moved for you by the therapist to encourage movement without stressing the body.
5. Exercise or Physical Therapy
While many of these treatments help to improve your body’s movement, the most important piece of your recovery will be your own activity. Your physiotherapy will involve a range of rehabilitation exercises or physical therapy designed to help you reach your goals for recovery. These exercises may focus on strength, flexibility, range of motion, balance, mobility, and endurance.
This exercise is often the most difficult part of treatment, but also the one that requires the most effort on your part. With expert guidance from your orthopedic physiotherapist, these exercises will become easier over time and help you to reach your prior levels of activity.
Physiotherapy Customized For You
At AICA Orthopedics, our physiotherapists work with a comprehensive medical team to treat your condition or injury holistically. Working with a range of other specialists, your physiotherapist will be able to design a personalized treatment plan specifically aimed at your goals. They’ll also help determine how long you should expect to be in therapy. AICA Orthopedics may use some of the treatments mentioned above as well as a range of other treatments to help you achieve optimal health and full-body wellness.
If you think you could benefit from orthopedic physiotherapy, contact AICA Orthopedics today to begin your recovery.