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Knee Pain: How Can Physical Therapy Help?

Knee Pain: How Can Physical Therapy Help?
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Physical therapy is a great option to consider in relieving knee pain. The main goals of a treatment program should be decreasing pain and increasing mobility. If someone experiences difficulty standing up from or sitting down on a chair, going up or down the stairs, or walking to run errands, it’s important to treat the problem earlier on before it exacerbates.

During the initial evaluation, the physical therapist will examine the patient’s strength, range of motion, and functional abilities. From there, a personal treatment plan will be created for the individual, taking in account of any goals he/she may have in mind.

A session of physical therapy may include stretching, strengthening, balance and gait training, and joint mobilitization /stabilization. If the therapist deems appropriate, a hot pack, ice pack, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, or althetic taping may be used.

People with knee pain should consider physical therapy because it can be an effective treatment in place of surgery. Therapy has been proven to be successful for patients with meniscal tears and moderate osteoarthritis; allowing them to avoid possible risks, side effects, and expenses of surgical intervention.

If surgery is inevitable, therapy can be essential both before and after surgery for efficient recovery. Therapy beforehand, can help patients become stronger and help them accustom to an exercise routine, thus, requiring less intensive therapy post-operation. After surgery, therapy can help individuals regain mobility, increase strength and balance, walk without an assistive device, and return to previous activities of everyday life.

After an injury, exercises can help patients prevent joints from stiffening, increase movement, and reduce pain. Some beneficial exercises include stretching for the quadriceps and hamstrings, strengthening the hip and knees with clamshells, squats, and strengthening the calves with heel raises.

However, every patient start off at different levels and experience different types of pain, therefore, it is important to consult a physical therapist so they can make an exercise regimen catered to the patient alone.

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Total Hip Arthroplasty – Anterior vs. Posterior Approach

Total Hip Arthroplasty – Anterior vs. Posterior Approach
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For many years, the dominant technique for hip arthroplasty replacements has been the posterior approach. For this type of surgery, an incision is made at the back of the hip, muscles are cut to reach hip joint, the head and neck of the femur are removed, a stem with a “ball” at the end is inserted into the femur, and finally the hip joint is rejoined and surrounding tissues are repaired.

There are many risks of dislocation including sitting with hip hyper-flexed, leg internally rotated, and crossing one leg over the other. Because of this, many surgeons have taken different approaches that may be more beneficial such as the anterior approach.

In this case, a smaller incision is made in the front of the leg. Instead of cutting and possibly causing damage, muscles are separated to reach hip joint.

Post-operation will require a shorter recovery and hospital stay time compared to the posterior approach. Less precaution is needed as the patient should only avoid keeping their leg externally rotated.

There are many disadvantages to the anterior hip replacement approach as well. Because of the smaller incision, there is a restricted view of the hip joint. A special operating table is required for the anterior approach that may give rise to femoral and ankle fractures.

There may be risk of lateral femoral-cutaneous nerve damage which may lead to numbness, tingling, or burning sensation along the thigh. Finally, obese and muscular patients are not good candidates since additional soft tissue makes it difficult to access the joint.

Physical therapy can help patients with hip arthroplasty replacements regain mobility and strength. Exercise routines can increase the lifetime of an implant, thus, post-phoning another surgery.

Patients who received the anterior approach may have better range of motion, thus, there is less restriction on their exercise prescription. Studies show that they may use crutches or a walker unaided 6 days sooner than patients who received the posterior approach.

They may also experience less pain, thus, they are able to bend at hip and bear weight sooner, leading to faster recovery.

However, this is just general information. Always consult your doctor or surgeon to decide which procedure is appropriate for you.

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