1. Find a reputable surgeon who you feel comfortable with. Suggestions from therapists and other patients are highly recommended. Formulate a list of questions so that there are no surprises. For example, but not limited to: how long is rehab/how long will I be out of work, will I have a brace/sling/walker/crutches and for how long, will I/when will I be able to drive, how often do we follow up after surgery, do I go straight home/to rehab/to outpatient PT, when will I be cleared for a return to my specific work duties, does insurance cover everything or will there be out of pocket expenses.
2. Its highly recommended to attend PREHAB as it speeds up the post rehabilitative recovery process if the joint is with its maximum ROM/flexibility/strength/functional ability pre op.
3. Schedule surgery when 1. you can’t take the pain anymore and MD feels you’re a candidate. 2. If it can be put off some, determine a time (for example the summer for teachers when schools out) to appropriately allow proper time to recover/rehab without unnecessary monetary, work, transportation, family stresses, etc that may negatively effect the process.
4. Post op REHAB is crucial. Keep an open line of communication between yourself, your physical therapist, and your surgeon so that everyone is on the same page with expectations, goals, concerns, etc. Rehab isn’t just PT 2-3x/week, its daily with respect to need for good HEP practice in between your scheduled visits, the ensure continual improvement. Appropriately invest your time, money, and hard work into your body, the most valuable machine you own.
5. Most outpatient rehab ends around 3-4.5 months post op, but realistically, most doctors believe continued independent exercise weekly, up to 1 yr post op, leads to maximal gains and long term success post op, so plan on joining a gym, continued HEP at home, outdoor exercise alternatives, etc up to 1 yr to fully complete your surgical/rehab experience.
This post was written by Peak Performance Physical Therapist Dan Craine, MS, PT, a Certified Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy as well as Certified in the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis. He currently practices out of our Wantagh location.