Physical therapists, like many healthcare professionals, also have their own specialties. Orthopedic physical therapists, for instance, specialize in the treatment of conditions or injuries affecting the musculoskeletal system (bony and soft-tissue structures of the body).
Whether you just had a joint replacement and are needing to get used to your new joint; sustained a sports-related or workplace injury; or are living with arthritis, you could greatly benefit from physical therapy.
Keep reading to get a general understanding of what to expect from your physical therapy program.
What to Expect
At your first physical therapy appointment, you will undergo a comprehensive evaluation. This means your physical therapist will look into your medical history, discuss your symptoms, as well as carry out a physical evaluation to assess the following:
o Range of motion
o Joint mobility
If you’re injured, your physical therapist will likely ask you questions about how you sustained your injury. Following this evaluation, they will work with you and your physician to devise a personalized treatment plan. The aim of the treatment is essentially to help you regain your normal function and restore your overall quality of life.
Your treatment plan may include:
o Manual therapy techniques- for soft tissue rehabilitation and joint mobilization
o Therapeutic modalities (e.g. massage therapy, heat and cold therapy, electrical stimulation, and therapeutic ultrasound)- to promote healing
o Muscle retraining – to improve strength, flexibility, and mobility
o Improving balance and gait – to complete muscle strengthening activities and improve range of motion in your lower-extremity joints, helping you walk better
o Patient education – Your physical therapist will teach you how to carry out your daily activities safely or explain what your limitations are. Your physical therapist will also help you identify body imbalances and other factors that predispose you to injury.
o Home exercise program (HEP) – to strengthen musculature and facilitate quick recovery
o Training on assistive devices (e.g. walking aids, crutches, canes, etc.)
Duration of Treatment
Treatment length can vary considerably, depending on the severity of your condition or injury, overall health and fitness level, and whether you have had surgery. Trauma to soft tissue, such as through injury or surgery, can take six to eight weeks to heal, but physical therapy may still be recommended beyond this time to further improve strength and function and to minimize your risk of reinjury.
Your physical therapist will set your expectations and will monitor your progress throughout your treatment.
Physical Therapy Services in Northeast Tennessee
At Watauga Orthopaedics, we offer first-rate, on-site physical therapy services as part of our commitment to provide comprehensive care for the full range of orthopedic problems, helping countless patients in Northeast Tennessee feel, move, and live better.
To schedule an appointment, contact us at (423) 282-9011. Alternatively, you can use our convenient online system. We provide physical therapy in all three of our locations—in Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol, Tennessee.