The Importance of Following an Orthopedic Surgeon’s Recovery Plan

Rehabilitation –– restoring function, movement, and strength –– is the primary reason orthopedic surgeons create a recovery plan for their patients. The recovery plan, which typically involves physical and occupational therapy, is usually the most practical way of returning to regular activities, hobbies, and exercise as fast as possible. The treatment remains the critical component of rehabilitation or optimized recovery from any orthopedic surgery, irrespective of the procedure –– total knee replacement, hip, spine surgery or a minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure.

The importance of the recovery plan

With orthopedic surgery, it is important to reduce stiffness and restore mobility to the joints. Therapy helps guide patients on how to perform exercises, ensure they are being done correctly, and detect issues that the orthopedic surgeon might need to be aware of. Although therapy can take time, it is essential that patients understand that dedicating time to follow the recovery plan properly will contribute immensely to full healing and eventual recovery.

After the surgery, the patient and the orthopedist will discuss the rehabilitation plan and help them understand that active participation is necessary to receive the best results after surgery. Patients will experience the benefits of therapy daily.

What the recovery plan entails

Rehabilitation after surgery begins with a complete physical therapy examination, checking elements like the range of motion, strength, and the orthopedic surgeon's recovery plan. The physical therapist will develop a plan based on the patient's goals – the activities they perform and the kind of job they do. With their expertise in healing, the therapist will ensure the patient makes significant progress safely and quickly, using the four stages of rehabilitation, to accomplish recovery goals.

Restoring mobility

The recovery plan following an orthopedic surgery begins with gentle or passive therapy. The physical therapist will aid the patient in helping them restore range of motion for the specific joint.

Active range of motion

After the checkup with the orthopedic surgeon or according to the recovery plan, the patient will slowly go through aided and active range of motion exercises. At this stage, the physical therapist will offer proper advice as the patient begins to engage in regular activities.


After restoring active range of motion, the patient will begin the strengthening phase. This usually involves different types of exercise and the use of various equipment.

Restoring optimal movement

The final stage of the recovery plan connects all the dots to help the patient move properly and effectively and perform all their regular tasks.

In conclusion

The orthopedic surgeon will typically refer patients to physical therapy after surgery. However, depending on the surgery, the patient may be provided with a list of exercise to try on their own. Going through recovery with a physical therapist is essential to guiding healing progression, monitoring the performance of the exercise, and receiving tips to make the exercise effective. The therapist will also monitor the patient for signs of post-surgical complications and report back to the surgeon.

It is vital that patients follow the recovery plan that an orthopedic surgeon provides for complete recovery in order to avoid future complications.

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