How to Manage Shoulder Fracture Fixation With Physical Therapy
When a shoulder fracture occurs, the most common treatment is surgical fixation. This involves repairing or replacing the damaged bone with metal plates and screws, allowing it to heal in the correct position. But even after surgery, physical therapy still plays an important role in post-surgical recovery.
Post-surgical physical therapy can help reduce pain, restore mobility, and improve the overall function of the shoulder. It can also help minimize scar tissue formation, reduce inflammation, and improve range of motion.
In this article, we will explore the importance of post-surgical physical therapy after a shoulder fracture fixation, as well as outline the goals, phases, and techniques used in post-surgical physical therapy and review the role of both patient and physical therapist in the post-surgical recovery process. We will also discuss potential challenges and solutions which may arise during post-surgical physical therapy.
The Importance of Post-Surgical Physical Therapy
Post-surgical physical therapy is essential for a successful recovery after a shoulder fracture fixation. Physical therapy can help reduce pain, restore range of motion, and get you back to your pre-injury activities. It can also help minimize scar tissue formation, reduce inflammation, and improve overall shoulder stability.
Goals of Post-Surgical Physical Therapy
The primary goal of post-surgical physical therapy is to help restore range of motion, strength and function in the shoulder. This includes increasing flexibility, restoring coordination and balancing out muscle groups around the shoulder joint. Other goals may include improving balance, posture and core stability as well as returning to activities such as sports or work-related tasks.
Phases of Post-Surgical Physical Therapy
Post-surgical physical therapy is typically divided into three phases:
- Early phase: This focuses on restoring range of motion, reducing inflammation and pain as well as improving coordination.
- Intermediate phase: During this phase, the focus is on increasing strength and flexibility in the shoulder joint.
- Late phase: The goal here is to return to pre-injury activities and increase the shoulder’s endurance.
Techniques Used in Post-Surgical Physical Therapy
The techniques used in post-surgical physical therapy will depend on the type of surgery performed, as well as the patient’s specific goals and needs. Generally, these techniques may include stretching, strengthening exercises, manual therapy, balance and proprioception exercises, and/or therapeutic activities.
Role of a Physical Therapist in Post-Surgical Recovery
A physical therapist plays an important role in post-surgical recovery. They can assess the patient’s condition and develop an individualized treatment program to help them achieve their goals and get back to their pre-injury lifestyle. A physical therapist will educate the patient on proper form and technique, provide feedback to ensure they are doing exercises correctly, and make any necessary modifications if needed. They will also monitor progress and adjust the treatment plan as needed.
Patient’s Role in Post-Surgical Physical Therapy
The patient plays an essential role in post-surgical physical therapy too! It is important that they follow their physical therapist’s instructions and recommendations, remain consistent with their exercises, and take care of themselves in between sessions. It is also important that the patient has realistic expectations as recovery will not happen overnight.
Potential Challenges and Solutions in Post-Surgical Physical Therapy
There are a few potential challenges that may arise during post-surgical physical therapy for shoulder fracture fixation. One of these challenges is patient compliance with the exercise program; it’s important to ensure that the patient is following their physical therapist’s instructions and doing their exercises correctly. Another challenge could be pain management; a physical therapist can help the patient identify appropriate pain-relieving strategies, such as ice or heat therapy, stretching, and gentle massage. Finally, there is a risk of reinjury or exacerbation of the original injury if the patient over-exerts themselves; physical therapists can help ensure that patients are doing their exercises with proper form and technique to reduce this risk.
Post-surgical physical therapy plays a crucial role in helping patients return to their pre-injury lifestyle following shoulder fracture fixation. Through the combination of exercises, patient education, and other techniques, physical therapists help to speed up recovery and reduce the risk of future injury. With a dedicated physical therapist and consistent effort from the patient, post-surgical physical therapy can be a successful experience! Although it may seem challenging at times, with proper guidance and support, patients can make significant progress in their recovery process. It is important that patients remain consistent with their post-surgical physical therapy program and take the necessary steps to ensure a safe and successful recovery.