If you’re undergoing surgery to address a torn ACL or following a joint replacement operation, it’s all but certain your doctor will recommend physical therapy following the surgery. However, there’s also the possibility that they’ll recommend that you undergo surgery prior to your operation. This is known as “prehabbing,” and it’s important for a couple of reasons. Below, we take a closer look at the benefits of prehabbing before you undergo your surgical operation.
Some people don’t believe there’s much of a point in working to strengthen an area that is going to be cut open in the coming weeks, but prehabbing is very beneficial for the right patient. The main reason why prehabbing is recommended for many patients who are undergoing an operation in the near future is because prehabbing has been linked to better outcomes post-op. A recent study published in Science Daily found that individuals who underwent six weeks of exercise therapy prior to their joint replacement operation reduced their likelihood of needing to be sent to an inpatient rehab facility by 73 percent. Not only does this mean that you are more independent sooner after your surgery, but it can also save you money in the long run.
Other benefits of prehabbing before surgery include:
- Reduce joint inflammation
- Improve blood flow to the area
- Strengthen muscles that support the bone and joint
- Allow for a greater range of motion
Simply put, prehabbing helps to ensure your joint is in the best shape possible prior to surgery, and there’s a direct correlation because joint function prior to surgery and joint function following the procedure. The stronger your knee or hip is prior to surgery, the better the chance it will be stronger following the operation.
Another benefit of prehabbing with physical therapy before you undergo any type of surgery is that it helps you get in the habit of committing to a physical routine and sticking to it. It’s almost certain that your doctor will recommend surgery following your operation, so if you’re already in the habit of completing your daily exercises, you’ll find it easier to follow through with PT after the operation is complete. Prehabbing not only gets your body ready for the physical task of healing after surgery, but it also works to get you in the right mental and emotional mindset needed to thrive during your physical therapy sessions.
Minnesota Prehab Clinics
So if you have been told that surgery is likely in your future, talk to your surgeon about whether or not they believe you’d benefit from prehab physical therapy. That little extra work now can make miles of difference in terms of functional capacity after an operation, so put in the work before you head to the operating room. If you have any questions or want to start a prehab therapy routine, get in contact with the team at OrthoRehab PT today.
PT of Costa Rican National Soccer Team for 2007 World Cup in Victoria, CAN. Clinical Instructor for University of Minnesota Doctor of Physical Therapy Affiliations
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