Prehabilitation. What is it? Does it work?
Most people have heard of Rehabilitation, the undertaking of treatment and exercise regime following an injury. Various studies are now showing the effectiveness of undertaking Physiotherapy treatment and an exercise program following an injury, but designed to help reduce symptoms and strengthen a particular body area BEFORE undergoing surgery to repair the injury.Injuries to the ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in the knee are one of these which has been shown to benefit from Prehab.
The American Journal of Sports Medicine outlined a study which found that those patients who underwent prehab, had a faster return to sport, better VMO (inside quadriceps muscle) function and greater ability to tolerate uneven surfaces (proprioception). Another example of this is patients requiring a Total Knee Replacement. With adequate prehab, they commence their post operative recovery with better muscle function and often less instability. This can help them back on their feet faster with a speedier road to recovery.
We are finding that more and more Surgeons and GP’s are becoming aware of these benefits and insisting that their patients seek some treatment and advice from their Physiotherapist some 6-8 weeks before undergoing their operation. The other benefit we have found is the ability to give the patient clear goals and thorough guidelines of home management for both before and after the operation (such as icing, medication, rest versus activity, return to work advice). It is not uncommon for patients to have not fully understood the instructions from the hospital or doctors if they only just came out of the general anaesthetic.
If you are due for Orthopaedic Surgery, ask your Doctor if they think you would benefit from some Prehab, it may be the right thing for you.