After a medical event such as surgery or an acute illness, you may have visits with more doctors and therapists than you ever knew you needed. It can be both confusing and reassuring to know that there are so many people are involved in your care.
Each medical practitioner gives you very specialized attention. You may meet a wound care specialist to help your surgical site heal, a physical therapist to improve your mobility, and a nutrition counselor to help you make dietary modifications, for example.
One of the specialists you may meet during your hospital stay or outpatient regimen is an orthopedic specialist.
What Does an Orthopedic Specialist Do?
An orthopedic expert specializes in treating musculoskeletal conditions. They help you recover from any illness or injury that affects your bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, or nerves. Their goal is to help you recover, regain full function, and prevent further injury.
Orthopedic specialists help in a number of ways including:
- Caring for casts and splints for broken bones
- Helping restore function after joint replacement
- Supplying assistive devices for physical impairments
- Assisting in your use of prosthetic devices
- Managing chronic conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia
Many people think of recovery as long periods of rest, but that may actually delay your recovery. Certainly some degree of rest is necessary, but the sooner you return to activity, the faster you will bounce back from the medical event. Your orthopedic specialist helps you do that in the safest, most effective way possible.
Ways an Orthopedic Specialist Aids in Recovery
Active orthopedic rehabilitation helps speed your recovery and restore your physical abilities. You'll have far better results getting back to your normal routine with the help of an orthopedic specialist than you would alone.
Three facets of recovery an orthopedic specialist can help with include physical conditioning, pain management, and injury prevention.
1. Physical Conditioning
Physical exercise is an integral part of your recovery. Your orthopedic specialist guides you through the most effective stretches, strengthening exercises, and aerobic activity to improve your physical condition. Each session builds on the last to increase your strength, mobility, and function so you can make a safe return to your normal routine.
Your orthopedic specialist knows how to make these improvements while working around your limitations. For example, you won't be able to run right after knee replacement surgery, but your therapist may encourage you to swim and perform seated leg exercises to improve your physical conditioning. Safe rehabilitative knee exercises make it easier to pick up hobbies like running or bowling again when you're given clearance.
2. Pain Management
An orthopedic specialist can also help you manage pain associated with your condition. Anti-inflammatory medication and targeted exercises, for example, may help restore spine health after fusion surgery. Your therapist can teach you techniques to prevent tight, sore muscles and strengthen postural muscles that could contribute to pain.
Orthopedic services also give you access to pain-relieving technologies such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy, a mechanism that delivers painless electrical impulses, and continuous passive motion devices that keep your joints in motion. Orthopedic specialists always have multiple pain-relieving alternatives at their fingertips if other techniques don't work.
3. Injury Prevention
In addition to helping you manage current pain, your specialist also helps you to take proper precautions to avoid getting hurt. For example, they can help you gradually build your strength after ankle surgery so you don't exacerbate your condition or cause any permanent damage during the healing process.
Depending on your condition, a therapist can teach you techniques to avoid repetitive injury, dislocation, blood clots, overcompensation, or other complications after a procedure or injury.
Finally, your specialist teaches you how to build exercise habits into your normal routine, allowing you to take the healthiest approach moving forward.
If you're looking into your rehabilitation options following a surgical procedure or injury, you will find many benefits from taking advantage of the orthopedic services offered to you. Orthopedic specialists help you to reach treatment goals faster and help you feel better as soon as possible.
Your orthopedic specialist works in conjunction with other specialists, including physical therapists, nutritionists, podiatrists, rheumatologists, and other providers to give you the most comprehensive care possible.
Rehab Select offers rehabilitative services for both inpatient and outpatient therapy. During an inpatient stay, you have all-day access to orthopedic specialists and equipment under one roof. Outpatient therapy gives you access to the same specialists and equipment during your scheduled sessions, however you will return home afterward. It's important to weigh your options and seek guidance from your care team to help you determine which is best for you.