Joint injuries are among the most common problems experienced by physiotherapy patients. These injuries may result from trauma to the body part or from wear and tear to the joint as in the case of carpal tunnel or arthritis. Patients may also seek physiotherapy following surgical procedures. Hip, knee, elbow, shoulder, wrist and hand surgery are among the most common. Before beginning treatment, a subjective assessment of the patient through interview, review of the patient's records and doctor's referral is accomplished. An objective assessment follows to assess the extent of the patient's deficits and to formulate treatment goals.In the case of a hip injury or injury of the lower extremity, treatment will focus on ambulation, balance and coordination while following the necessary precautions. Knowledge of how to use an assistive device such as a walker, cane or crutches is also provided. Strength training will also be undertaken as healing progresses. Training in stair climbing and using the stationary bike to regain range of motion.Pain is also addressed during therapy sessions and different modalities - heat, ice, ultrasound and E-stim to name a few - will be employed. Education on pain management at home will be provided.
Activities of daily living (ADL) are also a crucial part of the therapy program as you return to your prior level of functioning. A hip, knee or shoulder patient may be taught the use of adaptive equipment to help with his bathing and dressing activities. The goal here is to help you become independent while coping with the injury. Recovery for a hip patient is around six weeks, while knee patients may require about ten weeks. Independent activities of daily living (IADL) like car transfers and driving are part of the program in most clinics.
Wrist and hand patients need about six weeks for recovery, but their treatment may center mainly on fine motor activities. Since the hand is such a complicated structure, physiotherapists are specially trained in this area. Range of motion, strength and fine motor tasks form the basis of therapy as well as splinting in some cases.