Post Surgical Rehab: Range of Motion and Strength

November 19, 2019 – Well you survived the surgery, but now what? What can I expect next? What does physical therapy work on? The answers to these questions can be as specific as we need them to be, but in generic terms we must get you moving again.

Outside of pain control, most physical therapy programs initially will focus on improving your range of motion and strength after surgery. This is done because we must build a foundation to work from. There is no point in working on balance, athletic situations, work scenarios, or how to get you going in the yard without having a good base.

First, range of motion. Often our initial goals focus on getting you back to moving fully and normally. This include things like being able to lift our arm above our head or bending your knee back so we can sit normally. These are very basic things, but without them you can’t wash your hair or get on and off the toilet. Range of motion is first addressed passively, where you focus on relaxing and remaining comfortable while our team works you through your available range of motion within a comfortable pain range. Next, we work on active assistive range of motion, where you use other body parts or machines to help the area regain its range of motion as pain free as possible. Finally, we work into active range of motion where we are focusing on improving your normal range of motion and function as much as possible.

As your range of motion is improving, we move our focus onto my strengthening activities. It is important to strengthen in a manner that allows for continued improvement in range of motion. It makes no sense to only be strong through 90 degrees of range of motion when that joint normally has 120 degrees of range of motion. Strengthening starts isometrically where we are working on pain free muscle contractions without any joint movement. As this strength improves, we can begin to work on concentric and eccentric strength. Concentric strength is used to move a load through a range. Think of a bicep curl. Eccentric strength is used to control a load through a range. Think of lowering your self down from a high step. These are both very important but treated very differently.

At Witte Physical Therapy we will help you work to efficiently improve your range of motion and strength while being aware of your pain levels are affected. We will work to develop a plan made only for you so that you can achieve your goals as quickly as possible. This is a big goal for us, and we continue to try to work for you every day.

Your Witte Physical Therapy Team 

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