Why is Post-Fracture Physiotherapy Important?
When you experience a fracture, the healing journey involves much more than just the mending of a broken bone. Typically, a fracture heals within six weeks, but this is only the beginning. The real challenge often lies in addressing the associated soft tissue damage and the complications arising from immobilisation. This is where post-fracture physiotherapy plays a crucial role.
Understanding the Impact of Fractures
A fracture often results in joint stiffness and significant muscle weakness, not just in the affected area but also in nearby joints and muscles. For instance, a fractured shoulder can lead to stiffness in the elbow or wrist, a consequence of prolonged immobilisation in a sling. Similarly, fractures in lower limbs, which are weight-bearing, can significantly impact your range of motion and strength, affecting your daily functionality.
Commencing Physiotherapy: Timing is Key
The right time to start physiotherapy after a fracture varies depending on the fracture type and location. Consulting with an Orthopaedic Surgeon, a General Practitioner (GP), or physiotherapist is advisable for personalised guidance. In general, physiotherapy initially focuses on preventing stiffness and weakness in adjacent joints and muscles. After six weeks, as the bone heals, the focus shifts to regaining full joint range of motion and muscle strength.
The Role of Fracture Physiotherapy
- Preventing Complications: Early intervention by a physiotherapist helps prevent joint stiffness and muscle atrophy.
- Personalised Care Plans: Each fracture is unique, and so is each recovery plan. Physiotherapists tailor exercises and treatments to individual needs.
- Holistic Approach: Beyond just the physical aspect, physiotherapists also provide support and guidance for the emotional and psychological aspects of recovery.
Recent Advances in Fracture Rehabilitation
Recent research highlights the importance of tailored physiotherapy programs. Studies suggest that specific exercises targeting not just the fractured area but also the surrounding muscles can significantly improve recovery outcomes. Furthermore, incorporating balance and proprioception exercises has been shown to enhance overall functionality, especially in lower limb fractures.
Range of Motion Exercises: A Crucial Element
Post-fracture, range of motion exercises are vital. They help restore flexibility and prevent long-term complications. These exercises are carefully designed to suit the stage of healing and are progressively adjusted as recovery progresses.
Addressing Muscle Weakness
Muscle weakness is a common aftermath of a fracture. Targeted strength training under the supervision of a physiotherapist is essential for rebuilding muscle strength and ensuring a balanced recovery.
Functional Impact of Fractures
Fractures can impact your daily life in various ways. Physiotherapy aims not only to heal but also to restore your ability to perform daily activities efficiently and safely.
The Importance of Professional Guidance
Seeking professional advice from a physiotherapist is crucial. They not only provide professional guidance and support but also ensure that the recovery process is safe and effective.
Conclusion: Your Path to Recovery
Recovering from a fracture is a journey that involves more than just the healing of the bone. With the right physiotherapy approach, you can overcome the challenges of joint stiffness, muscle weakness, and functional limitations. Remember, every fracture is unique, and so is every recovery path. Therefore, it’s essential to seek personalised advice from a professional physiotherapist.
Seeking Professional Advice
If you’re unsure about the role of post-fracture physiotherapy in your recovery, consult with your doctor or contact a physiotherapist. At PhysioWorks, we are ready to assist you at any stage of your recovery. If you feel your progress is not satisfactory or your mobility is compromised, please reach out to us for a comprehensive post-fracture review.