Recovering From Fractures or Surgery, Particularly Joint Replacement


Our osteopathic patients are often surprised that we can treat people after fracture or surgery but this is an area that osteopaths are well placed to help with.

Broken bones from trauma or osteoporosis can be very painful and debilitating, leading to long term problems if not handled correctly.   Fractures from trauma (unless ribs or digits) are usually treated by a fracture clinic with immobilisation by cast or splint, sometimes requiring surgical fixation.   

According to the American Academy of orthopaedic surgeons, after your cast or brace is removed, you may need to continue limiting your movement until the bone is solid enough for normal activity which can take several weeks to months depending on the severity of the fracture.

During your recovery you will likely lose muscle strength and range of motion in the injured area. 

All this can sound pretty disheartening but specific exercises will help you restore normal muscle strength, joint motion, and flexibility. This is where your osteopath can help.

According to physiotherapists, patients should receive manual therapy as soon as the fracture has been immobilised. Treatment at this time will promote healing, strengthen weakened muscles and encourage weight bearing as well as maintaining range of motion of the affected and surrounding joints. 

Physiotherapy can be sometimes difficult to access and your osteopath will be more than capable of providing the manual treatment that is so important. 

Osteopaths use touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to increase the mobility of joints, to relieve muscle tension, to enhance the blood and nerve supply to tissues, and to help your body’s own healing mechanisms.

Osteopaths work with the body to gently achieve an increase in mobility as well as reducing swelling and inflammation by gently moving the affected joint within its comfortable range and working through the surrounding joints to increase range of motion here. It is also useful to consider that the surrounding joints, as well as compensating for the fractured area, may also have suffered some damage during the trauma. Your osteopath will check other areas which may have been overlooked at the time of trauma in favour of more pressing injuries.

Protocol following surgery is very similar in terms of getting your body moving better and back to fully functional.   We are happy to see you after surgery such as joint replacement (knee replacement or hip replacement for example) as soon as you feel able to receive treatment. Our techniques can be adapted to suit your individual situation, with much gentler techniques being employed initially to aid with swelling, fluid drainage and inflammation as well as gently mobilising the body. Sometimes we start well away from the operated on area and focus on improving mobility elsewhere to enable better compensation and prevent the body from tightening up as a response to surgery. Circulation is also really important enabling the blood supply to bring oxygen and nutrients into the affected area as well as removing waste materials from the tissues. Osteopaths can help with this as it is one of our founding principals. 

For me as an osteopath, it is really all about mobility and getting your body back to its full potential

Telephone:  01747 851726

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