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What Should I Expect from Knee Rehabilitation?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 07 January 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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In knee rehabilitation, a physical therapist will work with a patient to help the patient recover from surgery on the knee or a knee injury. The goal of rehabilitation is to keep the knee as functional as possible, restoring function if this is an option, and to help the patient avoid injury in the future. Rehabilitation requires a high level of cooperation between patient and therapist, and a commitment to invest time in the entire rehabilitation process.

At the start of rehabilitation, the physical therapist will meet with the patient to perform an assessment. Many physical therapists like to have a copy of the patient's chart, and an opportunity to talk with the doctor who has been treating the patient, to get an idea of the scope of the patient's case. Certain information in the patient's history may also be extremely relevant to the approach taken in physical therapy.

During the meeting with the patient, the physical therapist will assess current knee function, examine the knee, and talk with the patient about goals. A patient may have a desire, for example, to resume strenuous physical activity. Or, the patient may simply want to be able to maintain a low level of activity, such as casual walks around the neighborhood. Patients may also be concerned about pain management. The patient's goals are an important thing to take into account during rehabilitation.

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During rehabilitation sessions at a rehabilitation facility, knee rehabilitation can involve numerous activities. The patient may work with a physical therapist on simple stretches and range of motion exercises. Patients who have difficulty walking may work with a therapist to relearn walking skills. Knee rehabilitation can also include things like knee massage, meditation to help the patient focus, and exercise in environments like a pool, where pressure on the knee will be relieved.

If a patient's knee is badly damaged or a patient has other physical issues, an occupational therapist may work with a patient during knee rehabilitation to introduce assistive devices and help the patient develop coping skills. During rehabilitation, the patient also sees a doctor regularly for follow-up examinations of the knee, which can also include things like removal of surgical stitches, medical imaging studies to check on the healing progress inside the knee, and so forth.

Finally, a key aspect of knee rehabilitation occurs at home. Patients are given exercises to perform at home to increase strength, flexibility, and tone. These exercises must be completed on a regular basis for the work done in sessions to be effective.

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