Therapeutic Exercises for Recovery

Therapeutic Exercises for Recovery


When an injury sidelines you, one of the first questions you may have is, “how soon can I get back to normal life?” Much of that depends on the type of injury and treatment, but a significant portion also depends on how you approach therapeutic exercises for recovery. Therapeutic exercises provide a great tool in making sure that you return to your pre-injury activities in the shortest time possible.

How do I incorporate Therapeutic Exercises?

Hand Injuries

Hand injuries present multiple challenges. In addition to being painful, not having the full use of the hands can make it very difficult to perform even the simplest daily tasks. Restoring strength and range of motion in the hands is critical to returning to normal life, whether you’re dealing with an athletic injury, a repetitive motion injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or a diagnosis of arthritis. Therapeutic exercises for recovery from hand injuries can include activities as simple as making a fist, up to gripping and pinching exercises using resistance.

“The role of therapy in hand, wrist, and elbow surgery cannot be overstated,” says Dr. Brandon Donnelly, board certified orthopedic hand surgeon. “Numerous ailments can be resolved with focused therapy, avoiding the need for surgery. In addition, therapy plays a huge part in the postoperative course of upper extremity surgery. Many times, the therapy is as  important  and  in some cases, more important than what we actually do in the operating room.”
Brandon Donnelly, MD

Foot and Ankle Injuries

Foot and ankle injuries are common and can happen anywhere. That missed step or hole in the yard that you didn’t see can land you in pain. Therapeutic exercises can help you recover strength, flexibility and balance. Stretches can help bring the flexibility back, and some simple resistance exercises, such as lifting a towel with your toes, may help recover strength.

Knee Injuries

Knee injuries are among the most common that we see. That’s because the knee is one of our most-used joints. Over the years, our knees experience a lot of wear and tear from daily use, even for those who don’t participate in sports. Because so much depends on our knees, therapeutic exercises are key to help alleviate pain as well as recover from injuries. Your physical therapist will likely include exercises such as leg lifts, squats, or walking exercises.

“Prophylactic exercise is essential not only to being healthy but also to avoid injury. Therapeutic exercise helps to keep your weight down which puts less stress on your knees. Strengthening the muscles and increasing flexibility are the recipe for knee health.  Learning proper mechanics can allow patients more efficient and less painful movements.”
Joseph Finstein, MD

Hip Pain

Hip pain interferes with life in many ways, making it difficult to stand or walk. It can mean missing out on activities as well as memories with children or grandchildren. Therapeutic exercises, such as groin stretches and leg raises can help recover strength and flexibility in the hip so you can make those memories.

Shoulder injuries

Shoulder injuries can be very painful and have long recovery times. It’s imperative to use therapeutic exercises to shorten recovery times and ensure the best possible outcome. It’s especially important in major procedures, such as a rotator cuff repair, which can take several months to rehab. Exercises for shoulders can include stretches and small movements that help restore mobility and flexibility.

“The operation for rotator cuff repair typically is less than two hours, but the rehab takes two to three months, minimum,” says Dr. Joseph Finstein, board certified orthopedic surgeon. “As a result, one of the most important aspects of rotator cuff surgery is the rehab. Patients who adhere to the post-operative protocol of physical therapy and home exercises are significantly more likely to obtain optimal results when compared to those who don’t.”
Joseph Finstein, MD

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain presents just as many problems as injury for millions of Americans, and unlike injuries, which may be recoverable, patients often have to learn to live with chronic pain long-term. Therapeutic exercises can help decrease pain and inflammation, as well as increase mobility to provide relief for chronic pain. Cardiovascular exercises, such as walking and swimming, as well as relaxation techniques and stretching can help.

Spinal Injuries and Chronic Back Pain

Spinal injuries and chronic back pain can be debilitating conditions if not properly treated, and a key ingredient in that treatment is therapeutic exercises to help you strengthen the muscles of your back and reduce spinal pain. Activities such as stretching, walking and body weight bearing exercises, such as body lifts, may be prescribed to help with this.

Therapeutic exercise safety

While you can see that therapeutic exercises for recovery are a key part of returning from chronic pain or injury, there’s a reason that it’s called a recovery plan. Safety and precautions should be part of that plan. Here are some tips to make sure you don’t overdo it.

Pace Yourself

You’re not going to recover from an injury in a day, and pushing yourself to your limits may cause more harm than good. Start slowly and work your way toward your goals according to your plan.

Trust Your Doctor and Physical Therapist

If you are having trouble or something just doesn’t seem right while you are performing your therapeutic exercises, talk about it. If your body is telling you that something is wrong, your plan may require some changes.

Take Care of Mind as Well as Body

Injuries can be frustrating and take an emotional toll. Talk to your doctor about realistic goals and timetables so you are fully prepared going in and get support for your recovery. Most of all, cut yourself some slack.

Ready to begin your therapeutic exercises?

The physical therapy team at Pontchartrain Orthopedics and Sports Medicine can help you create the right plan for therapeutic exercises for recovery. They can teach you the correct techniques to make sure that you stay safe and on the best possible path to full recovery.  Contact one of our clinics in Metairie or Boutte today to see how we can help you start to reclaim your life.

This website is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, medical diagnosis, professional opinion, treatment or services to you or any other person. Through this website and links to other websites, Pontchartrain Orthopedics & Sports Medicine provides general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this website, or through links to other sites, is not a substitute for medical care. You should not use this information in place of a visit, call, consultation or the advice of your healthcare provider. Pontchartrain Orthopedics & Sports Medicine is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this site.