Benefits of Physical Therapy Before Surgery

Jul 5, 2017

Stacy Scherzer

by Stacy Scherzer
MPT, COMT | Arrowhead Location

When searching for a solution to overcome an injury or chronic pain, surgery should be only considered as the final option. Physical therapy at Foothills Sports Medicine can truly work miracles in most situations as a safer, less expensive, and less invasive alternative.
Many times, physical therapy is necessary in order to proceed through the medical continuum of care. Physical therapy is now widely accepted by insurance agencies that offer direct access in many states. Many states, including Arizona, now offer direct access to physical therapy; meaning a doctors referral is not required to receive physical therapy. At Foothills, we pride ourselves on scheduling patients within 24-48 hours, which means we can help you on your road to recovery even faster. If a therapist believes physical therapy isn’t the best solution, they often can refer patients to the correct specialist that can assist them with a full recovery.
Surgeries come with great risk, and not every surgery outcome is without fault. Many surgeries alter the biomechanics of the affected area by changing the way joints or muscles naturally move. Physical therapy comes in by teaching that joint how to move again through a full range of motion.
Another complexity of surgery is left over scar tissue. Anytime muscle is incised during surgery, scar tissue will be left behind. The difficulty with scar tissue is that it can potentially cause major problems with soft tissue mobility and joint mobility.
If a patient undergoes rotator cuff repair, the torn tendon will need to be reattached to the humeral head. For a surgeon to do this, they have to make incisions to access the tendon, pull the tendon back to the attachment site, and anchor it down. In this case, scar tissue forms during healing if tendon isn’t laid down correctly, which can limit tissue mobility. If there is less tissue mobility, then there could be a narrower potential range of motion, which can impede a patient’s quality of life in the long run.
In most cases, it’s imperative to have physical therapy prior to a surgery so that joint strength can be built. The stronger you go into surgery, the stronger you will come out. Putting this work in ahead of time will improve the benefits of rehab following surgery. Schedule an appointment or visit the team at Foothills Sports Medicine who are here to help you build strength before so that you can be pain-free after.

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