Over a person’s lifetime, they will more than likely get an injury or illness that will affect their muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons as a result of their activities and lifestyle. These conditions will limit you from doing your daily activities and even prevent you from work or recreational activities. These types of injuries or illnesses can affect one’s independence, mental state, and quality of life. If you are one of these people, you will more than likely benefit from the services of an orthopedic physical therapist.
Orthopedic Physical Therapy
Orthopedics is a branch of medicine concerning the musculoskeletal system. These are comprised of your muscles, bones, joints, ligaments and tendons. If you have concerns with any of the mentioned body parts, your doctor will likely refer you for Physical Therapy. Orthopedic Physical Therapy is the most common form of physical therapy. It includes assessment and treatment of the musculoskeletal system when they are affected by illness or injury due to trauma. This branch of PT can be Pediatric, Geriatric, Sports Related or Work Related.
Pediatric - this involves treatment of children and teenagers with bone fractures, scoliosis or growing pains.
Geriatric - this involves treatment of orthopedic cases affecting the aging population.
Sports Related - the dark side of sports is that you can get injured anytime even with training. An athlete would need Orthopedic Physical Therapy to recovery from injury or surgery.
Work Related - these involve patients that perform activities that require repetitive work. Repetitive motions often result in pain, decreases in flexibility, and decreases in strength.
This specialization of Physical Therapy focuses treatment of the musculoskeletal system. Some of the conditions that are commonly seen are:
Fractures - any break in the bone. Fractures commonly occur because of accidents, slips, falls, or sports injuries.
Strains - an injury affecting the muscle. A strain happens when a muscle is overly stretched resulting in microtears within the affected part.
Sprains - this type of injury is similar to a sprain, only it affects the ligaments. It is also a result of the ligament being overly stretched due to a sudden movement or action.
Tendonitis - this occurs when a tendon (the structure which connects a muscle to a bone) is inflammed. This can cause pain and affect a person’s participation in daily activities.
Bursitis - an inflammation affecting the small, fluid-filled sacs called bursa. A bursa acts like a pillow that cushions the bones, muscles and ligaments near the joint.
Post-operative conditions - if you have just gone surgery of your bone, muscle, tendon, ligament or joint, you will most definitely need to undergo orthopedic physical therapy.
Remember, these conditions can affect any area of our body! It can also affect any person regardless of their age.
Evaluation and Treatment
The human body is made for movement and the musculoskeletal system helps the human body move and interact with the environment. Physical Therapists are also called movement specialists. They are particularly trained in the treatment and rehabilitation of orthopedic cases. Before proceeding with treatment, your Physical Therapist will first conduct a thorough assessment and evaluation. This will determine your current status in terms of pain, flexibility, mobility and functionality. Part of the assessment is formulating goals of treatment. It is important that you let your PT know what you want to achieve after your series of treatments. Your Physical Therapist will then design a program of treatment that will best suit you based on your current status and goals.
Therapists have a number of treatment strategies that they use to accommodate your body’s problems. These strategies are what they will use during the course of your treatment.
Modalities - these include hot / cold packs, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, or laser. These are provided by machines and are mostly used to control your pain and inflammation, especially during the first few times you see your PT.
Assistive Devices - these include crutches, walkers, canes or a wheelchair. You might need one of these to help you move around when you’re still recovering from an injury or post op.
Orthotics or Prosthetics - Orthotics makes use of artificial devices such as splints and braces while Prosthetics uses an artificial body part. These devices help in supporting body parts that are impaired (orthotics) or amputated (prosthetics).
Manual Therapy - this treatment strategy involves quite a few things. A PT can perform kneading to release your muscle and fascia, joint manipulation and joint mobilization. This is the part where you relax and the PT does all the hard work!
Exercise - the main tool to help a patient recover from an orthopedic condition.
Exercise is the most important component of Orthopedic Physical Therapy. Here, a PT will give you a set of things to do uniquely tailored for you based on his initial assessment and findings. When a person is diagnosed with an orthopedic case, the person is most likely experiencing pain, a decrease in motion or flexibility and some muscle weakness. Exercises will typically include:
Stretching Exercises - this is to help increase your flexibility and prepare structures for more challenging activities.
Strengthening Exercises - whenever there is pain, a slight muscle weakness will always be present. Strengthening these weakened muscles helps get rid of the pain.
Balance Exercises - this is usually prescribed to patients with lower extremity injuries. This can be hard since your PT will have to challenge your limits, but it can be fun too!
Endurance Exercises - some orthopedic injuries are a result of repetitive motions making your muscles and other structures tire easily. Endurance exercises are designed to be repetitive, as you are training your muscles to be able to perform motions for a prolonged period of time.
Plyometrics - this exercise focuses on generating power. This type of exercise will require your muscles (or you) to exert maximum effort to produce maximum results.
Finding the right PTs
There are some Physical Therapists that have undergone specific training to treat orthopedic conditions. These PTs have the letters “OCS” attached to their names. It stands for Orthopedic Certified Specialist. You can ask your doctor for a referral, but you can also choose to come directly to a Physical Therapist you trust.
Orthopedic Physical Therapy will help you return to function but it can be quite challenging since it will require you to endure a little bit of pain and discomfort. Your hard work, dedication, and active participation really is the key to full recovery. Here at Evolve, we can guarantee that our team of Physical Therapists will help you face these challenges.
Click here for more information on our orthopedic physical therapy services in Brooklyn
About Evolve Physical Therapy in Brooklyn-
Brooklyn’s Premier Physical Therapy Clinics-
There’s physical therapy, there’s training, and then there’s EVOLVE. We use the science of biomechanics merged with fitness to help our patients get better and stay better!
First we evaluate, then we heal, then we strengthen our clients so they can reach their goals, feel better, and live happier lives. We do so by utilizing a range of core techniques and specialized treatments to reduce pain, improve mobility, enhance physical strength and deal with the underlying issues, not just the pain itself.