Fracture Rehab: What To Expect?
A fracture is a very serious injury which has severe impacts on your life. It can be a very stressful and overwhelming time as you get used to your new injury and the difficulties it may create in your everyday life. However, with proper care and commitment the the rehabilitation and recovery process, you can regain your strength, mobility, and function. In this blog, we’ll go over the different stages of recovery from a fracture and what to expect from each one.
1. Immediate medical attention at the time of fracture
If you suspect a fracture, you should seek out emergency care immediately to get a proper diagnosis and X-ray. This ensures that any potential fracture can be appropriately immobilized. Upon identification of a fracture, you will be referred to a fracture clinic. Here, your doctor may use casts, splints, slings, crutches and other devices to properly support your injured area while it heals. You may also see an orthopedic surgeon who will determine the severity of your fracture. Additionally, whether surgical intervention is needed for the bone to heal.
2. Rest and protect
Resting is crucial in the early stages to allow the bone to heal properly and in alignment. Your doctor will give you instructions how much weight you can safely put through the limb and other movements you should avoid to protect the injury. Fractures are often painful and uncomfortable as well and your doctor might prescribe you pain medication to take during this period.
3. Follow up to the fracture clinic
Regular follow up visits will be scheduled to monitor the healing process and adjust the treatment plan as necessary. X-rays or other imaging tests are taken at each visit to assess the bone’s healing and alignment. Your doctor may make modifications to your supportive devices and weightbearing orders at each visit.
4. Taking off the cast and starting physiotherapy
Most supportive devices like casts/splints are kept on for up to 6 weeks. After this, it will be removed and you will likely be cleared to start physiotherapy. Which plays a vital role in the recovery process. Additionally, physiotherapy will help you regain your strength, flexibility, range of motion, and function with the injured area. They will design a unique home exercise program based on your specific needs, hobbies, work, and goals.
What to Expect from Physiotherapy
Your physiotherapist will start with some gentle range of motion exercises to work on the joint stiffness after you have been immobilized over the 6 weeks. Furthermore, these exercises aim to increase your range of motion for all the affected areas. They will also give you some targeted strengthening exercises for the area.
Due to disuse, the muscles will have atrophied (gotten smaller and weaker) and these exercises will focus on rebuilding the muscles around the affected area. They will work with on specific functional exercises and work-related tasks such as walking, climbing stairs, reaching, or lifting. This will help to get you back to your normal life as soon as possible. As you progress through the program, you will eventually return to your hobbies, sports, and other activities through a gradual process. It is important to pace yourself to prevent reinjury and your physiotherapist will help you know when it is too soon or when it is the right time to try something more challenging.
Recovering from a fracture is a hard journey that requires patience and dedication. Having the support of a health care professional on your pathway to recover is a huge advantage. Physiotherapy is most effective as early as possible after a fracture. Not completing the proper rehabilitation may cause some people to never recover fully or still have residual effects years later. Thus, if you are experiencing limitations, pain and discomfort from a previous or current fracture, PhysioNow has many experienced physiotherapists that would love to help you out. Book with PhysioNow today for your initial assessment and treatment.