Post-surgery rehabilitation is an exercise program that helps individuals restore and regain physical strength and function after an operation, states WebMD. Rehabilitation is necessary for restoring normal movement, building strength, easing pain and swelling, and preventing blood clots. It also allows individuals to return to normal activities quicker.
The most common procedures that require rehabilitation include rotator cuff repair, total joint replacements, ACL reconstruction, arthroscopic knee surgeries and arthroscopic hip surgeries. Achilles tendon repairs, nerve releases, neck and back surgeries, and surgical fixation of fractures in the arms and legs also require rehabilitation, according to the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Typically, doctors require that patients begin rehabilitation very soon after surgery. Some patients begin basic movement the day of the operation, such as sitting up on the edge of the bed or walking a few steps with some assistance. For many, rehabilitation begins during the hospital stay with various simple exercises, states WebMD. For example, doctors may have knee and hip replacement patients pump the ankles or tense and relax the thighs.
Rehabilitation typically consists of 20 to 30 minutes of exercise two or three times each day; however, a doctor may suggest more or less depending on the situation, according to WebMD. Physical therapists gradually add strengthening exercises to help build endurance. Physical therapists usually prescribe an at-home exercise program for patients to continue progress outside of therapy.