Almost every patient who has sustained a bone fracture will see physical therapy included in their treatment plan. And while some lesser fractures may heal naturally with rest and immobilization, others may require multiple surgeries to repair the damage. Whether you have sustained stress fractures from running on hard pavement or a compound fracture that requires surgical attention, here is what you can expect from physical therapy after a fracture.
Physical Therapy after a Fracture
The goal of physical therapy is to restore full range of motion and functionality. For hairline fractures, physical therapy is a good way to restore strength and flexibility; for more complex injuries physical therapy can be the key to learning how to become mobile again. Immobilization resulting from casts and splints can contribute to joint stiffness and muscle weakness; to overcome this, physical therapy can prove effective. Physical therapists can begin to guide you in moving exercises that benefit the surrounding tissues, joints, and muscles, even before your fracture has healed.
At the Hospital or Out-patient Surgical Center
Physical therapy actually encourages healing, meaning that patients who undergo physical therapy heal faster than those who don’t. For this reason, physical therapy is an indispensable part of treatment after surgery. Depending on the doctor’s recommendation, a physical therapist will start to work with you after a fracture – even before you have left the hospital, urgent care facility or out-patient surgical care center. In fact, it is the physical therapist who instructs and guides patients with fractures on how to use assistive devices such as crutches, walkers, and slings. They will help you understand the most effective way to wrap minor fractures and instruct your caregivers as well.
Furthermore, the physical therapist will teach you how to correctly and safely perform everyday life skills, such as getting out of bed, going up and downstairs, and entering and exiting a vehicle. The physical therapist will act on the recommendations of the doctor, such as weight-bearing restrictions, as well as teach you how to move in light of these restrictions. If you’ve fractured your arm, the physical therapist will teach you how to eat with your sling on, as well as how to apply and remove it so you can bathe and go to the bathroom.
When You Get Home
Depending on the severity of your fracture, your doctor will recommend a course of action with a physical therapist or, in the case of fractures that have occurred on the job, an occupational therapist. In some cases, you may be referred to a rehabilitation center or a physical therapist may visit you at home. During physical therapy, expect both a soothing session of therapeutic treatments that will stimulate blood flow and reduce the risk of developing scar tissue, as well as a series of sometimes challenging exercises that will help strengthen the area while working to increase range of motion and flexibility. Performing these exercises over time provides insurance that recently fractured bones will not become re-injured – especially important for those who are prone to hip fractures and the elderly.
Physical Therapy in Austin, Texas
Our goal at Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness is to help restore your function and mobility, minimize pain, and get you back to peak physical condition. To learn more about our occupation and physical therapy services, reach out to Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness at (512) 284-7192 or request an appointment online now. We welcome you to our Austin, Manor, and Round Rock, Texas clinics!