Preventing Injury Following Treatment, Surgery or Rehabilitation

Injury-preventionAt Skagit Regional Health, our orthopedics, sports medicine and spine care specialists will work with you to help you safely recover and get back to doing what you love most. But first, you need to recover.

We recommend movement, stretching and weight-bearing exercises because they are extremely important during this time to help preserve function and prevent further injury. Even patients undergoing joint replacement surgery should be up and moving, putting weight on their new joints the same day as surgery.

Because spine and abdominal muscles help keep our bodies straight and aligned, it’s important to keep the core strong. We recommend working on core strength and improving overall health through activities such as yoga, Pilates, swimming and water aerobics, in addition to adopting a healthy diet. Low-impact fitness, like walking 30 to 40 minutes, three times per week is also helpful. Using two walking sticks during this physical activity can help improve gait and prevent falls.

We Want What You Want: The Best Outcome Possible

Some patients feel better than they have in years following treatment or surgery. However, patients can overdo it during recovery and set themselves back. Patients need to understand and respect their limitations in order to avoid potential complications. This includes continuing to follow certain guidelines even after you have completed rehabilitation. For instance, patients with artificial joints should stay away from high-impact activities such as jumping.

In addition, overcompensating for your injury or using unnecessary canes, crutches or other aides beyond the recommended time-frame can put stress on other joints in the body, cause pain and potentially impact function. Overworking yourself also can increase the risk of injuries and falls. However, when hiking or walking longer distances, using walking sticks can improve balance and stability. Talk to your orthopedic specialist for the best solutions for your individual needs.

As highly trained experts, Skagit Regional Health’s orthopedic team offers the latest treatments using evidence-based best practices. We are your partners in care. We want what you want: the best outcome possible. We will work with you to develop a recovery plan, which should be followed as closely as possible. If any questions or concerns arise, our care team is available to discuss them.

Expectations and Timelines

Recovering from an orthopedic condition or orthopedic surgery takes patience and hard work. Even if you feel you are ready, it is important to avoid engaging in physical activities until your doctor has given you the go ahead, because putting stress on your body can do more damage.

Although each individual case is different, estimated treatment and recovery timelines for common conditions and procedures include:

Sprains and Strains

The nature and severity of sprains and strains can vary, however, most sprains and strains heal within 2 to 4 weeks with rest, elevation, icing the injury and taking an over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medication. In general, sprains and strains are treated as outpatient care and don’t require a hospital stay. Once the injury is healed, physical or occupational therapy may be necessary to restore range of motion.

Fractures

Similar to sprains and strains, fractures can vary greatly in severity, so their treatments and recovery times can vary, as well. With a typical cast or splint as treatment, most fractures heal within 6 to 12 weeks and can be treated as an outpatient without a hospital stay. Physical and/or occupational therapy may also be necessary.

Orthopedic Surgery

Many orthopedic surgeries can be done through outpatient care. Many are now available as minimally or non-invasive, with less recovery time in the hospital. Recovery can take up to 12 weeks, depending on the type of surgery, and may also involve physical or occupational therapy to restore range of motion and function.

Joint Replacement Surgery

Depending on which joint is being replaced and the complexity of surgery, patients can expect to be in the hospital for several days. Some patients return home quickly and continue recovery and rehabilitation there, while others spend time in a rehabilitation facility. Recovery and rehabilitation of a joint replacement can take up to 12 weeks or longer depending on a number of factors. Complexity of surgery, age other health issues and how much support you have at home are all considered in determining your individual recovery plan.

Spine/Disc Surgery

Recovery time for spine and disc surgery can vary significantly depending on the type of surgery and the patient’s lifestyle. Smoking, obesity and inactivity can have a significant impact on recovery. Patients who adopt healthy eating habits, work on strengthening their core and practice back-smart activities, such as lifting properly, not sitting too long and using lumbar support when sitting for longer periods, will keep you strong and reduce your risk for injury.