You need to know all your options for physical therapy after a total knee replacement before your procedure. That way, you and your orthopedic surgeon can choose the path of recovery that will be best for you.
A growing option in the orthopaedic field is an online physical rehabilitation course. Total knee arthroplasty, or knee replacement, offers relief to thousands of people suffering from degenerative arthritis of the knee. Compliance with an intense physical therapy regimen begins after surgery ; in order to regain optimum function of the knee following surgery, rehab is essential. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), approximately 581,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States, and this number is expected to grow significantly as the population ages. The medical system is having to adapt to accommodate such a large number of people in recovery.
If you live in a rural or remote area you may be hesitant to get a knee replacement because of the distance you live from a physical rehabilitation cernter. Now there is a unique Internet-based postoperative rehabilitation program that can be conducted from your home called telerehabilitation. Telerehabilitation is the delivery of rehabilitation services over telecommunication networks and the internet that can be conducted right from your home regardless of where you live because internet is available in even the most remote areas now thanks to satellite internet. For most people, telerehabilitation is administered over the internet via a web camera for interactivity. Today’s tablets and smart phones may be acceptable devices but you want to make sure that they are supported by the center that will be helping you with your physical rehab.
Telerehabilitation allows experts in rehabilitation to engage in a clinical consultation at a distance through webcams, tele-videoconferencing over phone lines, videophones, echo-cancelling microphone, custom software and an Internet connection. Though this may sound intimidating if you are not used to computers, it is really quite easy and most such programs offer step-by-step instructions to guide you in any parts you find difficult or confusing.
Check with your orthopedic doctor to ensure that an online physical therapy treatment is available. Therapy sessions are usually about 45 minutes and consist of self-applied techniques under the guidance of the remote therapist, along with exercises and education in the postoperative management of the affected knee. Using telerehabilitation you will experience similar results to a patient who undergo traditional postoperative physical rehabilitation, even faring better in some areas, such as reduction in joint stiffness.
Patients who do not have regular access to rehab services after a knee replacement are unlikely to achieve maximum results in flexibility, strength, and mobility. Telerehabilitation ensures you can have access to a rehabilitation programs, regardless of where you live or your time constraints and it is becoming a popular alternative for many. Functionality was not the only measure of patient improvement, those using telerehabilitation reported a higher level of contentment with their program than those in traditional rehabilitation centers. Furthermore, patients that use telerehabilitation show significant improvement in specific functional areas designed to mimic their actual daily activities. So make sure you talk with your orthopedic surgeon about your rehabilitation options so you know exactly what to expect after your surgery.