Physiotherapy is often sought by those who are post-fracture. A fracture, or broken bone, is usually stabilized to support healing.
The stabilization or securing of the bones is done in a few different ways:
- Splint, brace or “aircast”. For less complex fractures, supporting the area is still important. These types of supports also allow the joints easier access. Someone with this type of support is often cleared for earlier physiotherapy of the area. This physiotherapy usually entails range of motion techniques, management of strength and movement of other areas of the body. There is no sense in allowing the whole body to become de-conditioned if it does not have to. The Physiotherapist will also ensure that any mobility devices fit you, and that you are using them safely. Once you get the all-clear from the orthopaedic surgeon you can begin more specific strengthening and progression of your physiotherapy.
- A Cast. A hard plaster-of-paris or fibreglass cast is slightly more cumbersome. It allows no movement of the joints close to the break. Physiotherapy for this type of stabilization should usually begin once the cast is off and you have received the all-clear from the orthopaedic surgeon. The physiotherapist will assess your range of motion, strength and general function. They will may assist you with movement and stretches. They will also likely give you some homework to work on independently so help maximize your physiotherapy sessions and speed things along.
- Metal Hardware. This includes pins, plates and screws. They are placed surgically to help secure and stabilize the broken bones. There are additional issues with managing swelling and scar management that a Physiotherapist can help you with. Otherwise, in general, the “Cast” management will carry over here. Once the orthopaedic surgeon is happy with how the x-rays look and how you’re healing they will send you for Physiotherapy. They will often provide additional protocols with regards to your recovery.
Depending how your Physiotherapy is progressing, the Physio may suggest that you wrk with a Massage Therapist as well to assist in your recovery.