Achieving Optimal Recovery and Injury Prevention: The Benefits of Physical Therapy After a Hip Fracture
Physical therapy is a great way to help your body recover from injury. After suffering from a hip fracture, it can help you regain strength and range of motion in your leg. Physical therapy has the added benefit of aiding in preventing reinjury, improving mobility, and reducing pain for those who have been affected by this condition.
With the help of a physical therapist, you can work to regain your strength and improve your overall health. They will work with you to create a plan of action tailored to your specific needs and guide you through exercises designed to restore your range of motion. So, whether you’re recovering from a broken bone or want to take a preventative approach, physical therapy can help you get back on your feet.
What to Expect at Physical Therapy
When beginning physical therapy after a hip fracture diagnosis, you can expect the therapist to assess the range of motion in the affected area. They may also evaluate deficits in muscle strength or coordination due to the injury.
After assessment, the therapist will create a personalized plan of action that is specific to your goals. This plan will focus on restoring movement and function in the hip joint and will be developed based on the severity of the injury and your overall physical fitness. Your therapist will work with you to help you regain mobility and strength, ultimately helping you get back to doing the things you love.
What Types of Exercises You Might Do
A physical therapist will likely work with you to teach and perform exercises that help restore strength, range of motion, and sensation in the affected area. These might include:
- Leg lifts: This exercise utilizes your own body weight to help strengthen the muscles around the hip joint, including the quadriceps and hamstrings. This is important for improving running form, increasing power, and reducing the risk of injury.
- Gluteal squeezes: Squeezing your glutes helps activate them and improve movement at the hip joint. Strengthening the glutes can also help alleviate pain in the lower back and knees.
- Ankle pumps: Moving each ankle up and down helps increase blood flow in the lower leg, which can aid in improving coordination and mobility. This exercise is beneficial for runners recovering from an injury or for those looking to prevent one.
- Step ups: Stepping onto a step or box helps strengthen all of the muscles surrounding the knee, as well as those of the hip joint. This improves overall lower body strength and stability for better running mechanics.
- Balance work: Standing on one leg or performing single-leg squats helps improve coordination and balance, both of which are important for overall movement. It also helps to strengthen the smaller muscles around the ankle, which can prevent falls and reduce the risk of ankle sprains.
How Long Recovery Takes
The length of time for recovery after a hip fracture varies based on injury severity and adherence to your physical therapy plan. While physical therapy may conclude in a matter of weeks, full restoration of strength and mobility in the injured area can take several months. Diligence and commitment to exercise regimens are essential in reaching goals safely and effectively.
How Physical Therapy Prevents Re-injury
Physical therapy is not only an important part of recovery from a hip fracture but also an important way to help prevent re-injury in the future. Strengthening and stretching the muscles around the hip joint can help improve flexibility and stability, making it less likely that you will suffer another injury. Additionally, physical therapists are trained to recognize signs of potential issues before they become more serious problems.
Recovering from a hip fracture can be a long and difficult process, but physical therapy is one of the best ways to ensure that you get back to your normal condition as quickly and safely as possible. With dedicated work and practice, it is possible to regain strength and mobility in the affected area within several weeks or months after completing physical therapy. Additionally, physical therapy can help prevent re-injury in the long term.