Contrary to popular views, the road to recovery after an injury doesn’t have to wait until after surgery. In fact, in order to achieve the most successful outcome and reduce the potential for complications after surgery, patients should seek pre and post-operative rehabilitation physical therapy.

According to Science Daily, “Physical therapy after total hip (THR) or total knee replacement (TKR) surgery is standard care for all patients. A new study, appearing in the October 1 (2014) issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery (JBJS), also found that physical therapy before joint replacement surgery, or “prehabilitation,” can diminish the need for postoperative care by nearly 30%.” That means patients are not only setting themselves up for higher success rates after surgery, but may also have the potential to reduce costs in the long run.

When preparing for surgery, your physical therapist can design a comprehensive preoperative rehabilitation program in order to have a great outcome after surgery. The goals of a prehab program include the following:

  • Prepare for surgery both mentally and physically
  • Shorten hospital stays
  • Reduce pain and inflammation
  • Restore range of motion
  • Improve your muscular control of the injured joint
  • Normalize movement patterns and muscle memory prior to surgery
  • Improve overall health and fitness levels
  • Familiarize oneself with the exercises that you will perform immediately after surgery



Postoperative Physical therapy is critical for patients that have had an orthopedic surgery, such as operations on the shoulder, knee, hand, wrist, neck, hip, foot, spine, and ankle in order to experience a speedy recovery. PT can begin as soon as a few hours to a few days following a surgery.  The greatest benefits of postoperative physical therapy is for a patient to regain motion and strength in order to return to their daily activities. Without specific training, the body will not be able to completely regain proper motion. PT takes place in phases and varies based on the personal needs of a patient. Ultimately, the final goal is to return the patient to their pre-injury activity level. Some postoperative treatments may include the following:

  • Pain reduction that may include modalities such as ice, heat, and electrical stimulation
  • Exercises to increase flexibility and range of motion
  • Strength training for muscles
  • Improvement for posture, balance, and coordination
  • Manual therapy techniques
  • Education on the best self-care practices
  • Home exercise instruction


Therapy before surgery is unique to each patient and for the kind of operation that they will be having. If you are curious to learn more or have any questions about how prehab can benefit you, we are here to help! More information about our services can be found on our website or by contacting someone from our team.