Orthopedic Rehabilitation: FAQ
What is an orthopedic injury?
An orthopedic injury affects our body's musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves. Without this complicated network, we wouldn't be able to move, work or be active. Orthopedic injuries range from infants with clubfeet, to athletes who require arthroscopic surgery, to people who need hip and knee replacements.
Recovering from an orthopedic injury involves not only your physician, but a team of medical professionals able to tailor a rehabilitation program based on your living environment, the extent of your injury and any other special needs. Part of your rehabilitation program should include ways to help you avoid future injuries involving specific activities or job requirements.
When should I use heat or ice for an injury?
Immediately after injury to a body part, ice is recommended to decrease swelling and pain, and to increase circulation to the healing area. Once the swelling has subsided, ice may be continued or it may be safe to use heat to encourage temporary pain relief. The rule of thumb is RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) after injury.
Will my insurance cover my durable medical equipment (DME)?
Each insurance plan is different, but in many cases your equipment is covered. Your care manager or therapist will work closely with you to verify this and other insurance questions you may have.
Lower Back Pain
Will I be able to return to work?
Following orthopedic rehabilitation at Good Shepherd, more than 90 percent of patients return to work. We will work with you, your family, and your doctor to assist you with this transition.
How can I prevent future injuries to my back?
Our therapists will instruct you about proper body mechanics and lifting techniques. This will be done in conjunction with a personalized exercise program designed to help prevent recurrences.
Total Knee/Total Hip Replacements
Will I ever be able to walk without a walker/cane?
Within 6-12 weeks after surgery, most knee/hip replacement patients are able to walk independently without any assistive devices. Your therapist will collaborate with your surgeon to determine when you are ready to walk without support.
Will there be any restrictions on my activities?
Restrictions are specific to the type of surgery you have had. During the first few weeks after surgery, your surgeon and therapist will instruct you about positions to avoid (i.e. crossing your legs following a total hip replacement).
How much pain can I expect?
Most patients experience some pain in the first few weeks after surgery. This pain can usually be relieved with medications prescribed by your physician. Typically, as you begin to heal and exercise, you can expect the pain to decrease. Results may vary depending on your medical condition prior to and after surgery.