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Rehabilitation after any sort of surgery is vital in order to make a full recovery. Surgery may have been necessary for a long-standing condition (for example knee, hip or shoulder replacement due to arthritis) or for a new (acute) condition. Acute conditions are many and varied, and may include shoulder or ACL (cruciate ligament) reconstruction due to injury, or if a fracture (broken bone) requires surgical correction with pins and plates.

In the case of joint replacement the cartilage lining of the joint is replaced, and there is often an immediate reduction in pain in the joint. However, the surrounding muscles are likely to have become weak and require specific exercises for strength. After surgery the joint may still be swollen and stiff, and guided stretching may be included in your rehabilitation.

In the case of joint reconstruction, the supporting structures of the joint (ligaments and/or tendons which have been torn or stretched) are strengthened by a number of surgical methods. Rehabilitation will often have to be carefully staged so as not to overstrain these tissues. Strength and movement are slowly regained as guided by your physiotherapist.

After surgery for fractures, the limb is still often kept in plaster. When this is removed immobilized joints will need to be helped to get moving, and weak muscles to be strengthened.

What to expect?  

After joint surgery most people will experience swelling, pain, stiffness and weakness. Your physiotherapist will liaise with your surgeon, and follow their post-surgical guidelines. They may use ice, ultrasound, massage, tape and exercises and will make suggestions about activity at home.

At Macquarie Street Physiotherapy, after any type of surgery, not only do we look at the area involved, but also at the condition of the whole body. We will help your return to overall fitness and flexibility.


Macquarie Street Physio