Have you recently been injured and are searching for physical therapy treatments? Or perhaps someone close to you is looking to work with a physical therapist and you’re trying to learn how to help them?
We’re here to aid you in your journey. This article will give an an overview of what orthopedic health entails and the different types of physical therapy treatments.
First, let’s start with the basics and understand what orthopedic health means.
What Is Orthopedic Health?
Orthopedics or orthopedic services refer to the treatment of the musculoskeletal system. This includes your bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints.
There are many reasons as to why a person would see a professional for orthopedic health. One reason may be a bone/muscle deformity that they were born with. Another could be a bone fracture or an injury from any day to day activity.
Other reasons someone may see a professional for orthopedic health include, but are not limited to:
These are just a few to give you an idea of the sorts of injuries/deformities that fall under orthopedic health.
To get a better idea of how you can get help for your specific case, we’re broken down the different physical therapy treatments.
Physical Therapy Treatments For Broken Bones
The first category we have is treatments for broken bones. Physical therapy with a professional after a fracture is important to get your mobility and strength back. It is essential in gaining back your full health.
So what does this entail?
After a fracture, your bone needs to be reduced or set. This means that all your bone pieces need to be put in the correct place so that it can heal properly. This is usually done manually by a doctor.
Once your bone is set, it needs to be stabilized in order to heal in place. This is where the cast comes in. The type of cast is chosen case by case. Depending on the seriousness of the injury, a doctor may give you a cast that can be removed or a cast that stays on you for the entirety of your healing process. You may also be given a sling if necessary.
When you begin to gain mobility again, you will work with a physical therapist usually in a hospital. If you broke your leg or ankle, you may be taught how to move around with an assistive device such as a cane or crutches. Your physical therapist will teach you how to navigate trickier movements such as going up the stairs or entering a car.
As time passes and you heal, you’ll be able to put more weight on your broken bone and do more activities. You will also partake in exercises with your physical therapist in order to regain mobility and strength. Your professional will give you insight on this, so make sure you listen to their recommendations and updates.
Your physical therapist will continue working through your strategy for you to heal and recover fully. This can take a differing amount of time for everyone as no fracture is the same. In general, a fracture takes about 4-12 weeks to heal.
Physical Therapy Treatments For Sprains & Strains
Sprains and strains are very common injuries that also require medical attention.
Once you have realized that you’ve sprained or strained a muscle, we recommend using the RICE principle:
- Rest: allow the related area of your body to rest
- Ice: apply ice for 10 to 15 minutes every three hours
- Compression: wear a compression bandage but ensure it isn’t too tight
- Elevation: elevate the injured area higher than the level of your heart to reduce swelling
Like all therapies, therapy for sprains and strains will differ depending on the case. Physical therapy for sprains usually focuses on minimizing swelling and pain and improving function of the area. On the other hand, physical therapy for strain aims to help the muscle heal while reducing scar tissue.
Some relevant treatments for both include:
- Exercises to strengthen and help mobilize the joint and muscles in the area
- Heat/ice to control swelling and pain
Once the muscle can partake in strength exercises, they will be added to the rehabilitation schedule as well. This, alongside the exercises to improve mobility, will help heal the affected area.
Physical Therapy Treatments For Tendonitis & Bursitis
Tendonitis happens when a tendon becomes inflamed. It can happen anywhere in the body, but the most common areas include the shoulder, elbow, knee, wrist and heel.
Similarly, bursitis occurs at the joints of the body and often happens in the same spots where tendonitis occurs.
Both conditions are painful, although it’s different from person to person. The pain can be dull or have a burning sensation.
Some symptoms of tendonitis are stiffness, weakness, swelling and tenderness. They’re often difficult to recognize but being conscious of where and when the pain occurs can help you pinpoint if you have the condition.
Physical therapy related to tendonitis includes working with a physical therapist to stretch and strengthen the relevant muscles and tendons. Your professional will be able to work you through the most efficient exercises for your type of tendonitis.
Physical therapy for bursitis usually includes stretching as well. A physical therapist can also help with inflammation through various therapeutic modalities. Some manual therapies like exercises and dry needling may also be involved.
Physical Therapy Treatments For Muscle, Tendon, & Ligament Tears
A muscle injury occurs when the muscle is overworked or overstretched. Like all the injuries listed here, muscle, tendon, and ligament tears can happen all over the body. Muscle strains are most common in the low back, front and back of the thighs, the calves, the muscles of the neck, and the shoulder. Strain happens most often when the muscles are working while under a stretch.
Below are the different classifications of muscle strain:
- Grade I (mild): Only a few muscle fibers are injured. Pain is hardly noticeable until the following day upon inspection. Usually no swelling or bruising occurs.
- Grade II (moderate): This covers any strain between grade I and grade III. There is noticeable decrease in strength and range of motion. Pain exists when stretching the muscle and when using the muscle for strength related activities. There may be swelling and bruising.
- Grade III (severe): All fibers are completely torn. It will be obvious when there is a severe injury as there will be severe swelling and bruising. Motion and strength will be limited due to pain.
During a grade II or grade III injury, a professional may need to take a look and recommend physical therapy. They may prescribe pain medications to reduce swelling and pain.
Physical rehabilitation strives to decrease the pain and any inflammation within the muscles. Large inflammation may cause secondary inflammation which could result in cell injury. It is important to use ice and compression properly to assist healing and avoid secondary tissue injury.
Regarding best practices, a physical therapist will advise you if ice or heat is best for your situation. They will also advise on certain physical modalities to decrease inflammation and pain. Another option for physical therapy treatments include soft tissue release.
Please ask your physical therapist which is right for you, and ensure that a professional is partaking in your rehabilitation process. If done incorrectly, it may lead to further complications or injuries.
Once the initial pain and inflammation has gone down, flexibility and strength will be focused on. Certain stretches will be used to encourage healing tissues to safely stretch and promote your range of motion. As you heal, more aggressive stretches will be added on to help you gain your range of motion, flexibility and mobility.
Alongside all of this, rest is essential to healing your muscle injury and not reversing the effects of the physical rehabilitation.
Finally, strength exercises will be added to build up muscle strength. This must be done at the correct time and pace to ensure that the injury does not get worse. Please follow recommendations by your physical therapist.
Physical Therapy Treatments For Accident Recovery
A car accident can be scarring on both your physical and mental health. It’s important to bring attention to both in order to work through and heal from the traumatic event.
There are two areas of your physical body to consider after an accident.
First is the muscular area. Because of the shock that occurs during a car accident, muscle strain is often a result additional to other injuries. The second is the skeletal area and how your bones are affected by the impact of the car accident.
Physical therapy is a major part of recovery for those who have been through a car accident. Since your entire body is affected, physical therapy that involves both your muscles and bones is crucial to fully healing.
Some physical therapies that could be prescribed include:
- Aqua therapy
- manual therapy
- joint manipulation
- At home exercises
Yoga and massage therapy are two very helpful therapies that can help your entire body long term. Your physical therapist will make recommendations on the best yoga exercises for your situation.
The yoga should include gentle yoga, which does not strain your body. Active yoga is too much as it puts a lot of strain on muscles and joints. Massage therapy helps loosen the joints and strained muscles. Both can also help your mental health alongside talking to a professional and working through any trauma.
Physical Therapy Treatments For Elbow Injuries
Elbow pain and elbow injuries are fairly common among athletes. That’s why so many elbow injuries – tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, little league elbow – are named after sports, But there are many other activities that can cause you to run into elbow issues as well.
There are a wide variety of different elbow injuries that can arise from any sort of repetitive use. Even activities you might not think are particularly strenuous, like gardening, playing a musical instrument, or typing, can cause elbow injuries. These include:
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
Little league elbow
Cubital tunnel syndrome
Pronator teres syndrome
Posterior & anterior interosseous nerve entrapment
Strains & tears
Each of these has its own treatment protocol that comes with it. But regardless, if you have an elbow injury, Capitol Physical Therapy can help.
Book an appointment with us today.
Physical Therapy Treatments For Hand & Wrist Pain
We use our hands and wrists for a lot. But often, it isn’t until you face hand & wrist pain or injury that prevents you from using them for a time that you realize just how important they are.
Our entire modern world has been built around the use of your hands and wrists. If you’ve suffered an injury to one or both, it can interfere with your ability to work, do the things you enjoy, and even take care of yourself.
And yet, there are a number of different ailments that can cause hand & wrist pain. This is partially because our hands and wrists are among the most complicated parts of our bodies. With many different bones, muscles, ligaments, joints, tendons, nerve endings, and more, a lot can go wrong. This includes:
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Extensor carpi ulnaris (ECU) tendonitis
Finger bone fractures
Hand bone fractures
Mallet finger/baseball finger
PIP joint dislocation
Thumb bone sprains
Thumb bone fractures
Each of these has its own treatment methods. And even within each condition, treatment may vary depending on how you acquired your injury.
But regardless of the cause, Capitol Physical Therapy can help.
Contact us today to book an appointment and find out more.
Book An Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy
Are you in need of physical therapy for your orthopedic health? Or do you know someone who needs assistance?
Reach out to us, Capitol Physical Therapy, and let us help you. We strive to make the process safe, accessible and reliable.
When you book an appointment with us, you don’t have to wait to be seen. We’ll schedule your initial appointment within 24 hours. From there, you’ll get to know your therapist and receive a thorough evaluation to find the root of the problem.
We’ll create a custom plan just for you and your specific needs, and you’ll easily be able to begin your path to physical freedom.
Book an appointment with us, Capitol Physical Therapy, today.