Here is a scenario that happens frequently in the rehabilitation world: You attend physical therapy post-knee-surgery for a few weeks. The physical therapist (PT) gives you “homework” exercises that you complete at home. In fact, you begin to wonder if you could continue to do what the PT has assigned at home, and just skip going to the in-office visits. Or, maybe you are already feeling much better and you think you’re healed enough to forgo PT altogether. Could you skip the remaining sessions covered by your insurance? You could do that, but your PT wouldn’t recommend it for these reasons:
1. Slowed Healing
When you stop your PT sessions, you are ending a prescribed program that is specifically tailored to address soft tissue healing as a knee surgeon like knee surgeon from a local center such as Premier Osteoarthritis Centers of Pennsylvania can explain. Even if you think you do enough exercising at home, the PT is able to get your blood circulating during your “workouts”, which is essential for helping tissue repair. If your body is not doing this regularly, your healing will be delayed.
2. Reduced Strength
Skipping PT sessions prevents strength gain because your muscles are not being used consistently. With reduced strength comes reduced mobility. You will not be able to move around as well if your muscles are weak.
3. Increased Pain
Your PT includes exercises that keep your muscles loose. If you are not moving enough, it can lead to stiffness and pain. When you’re in more pain, you won’t want to move. Pain is another issue that will affect mobility.
4. Increased Risk of Further Injury
Quitting PT programs early can risk repeat injury because of lost strength and delayed healing. You could be in worse shape the second time an injury occurs and you might have to go back to square one. This can be prevented if you go to your PT sessions, see your therapist and complete the prescribed course of treatment. If it’s an eight-week program, then commit to the full term.
Going to all of your PT sessions is good but, don’t forget about “homework”. You need to keep your muscles and joints moving when you are not attending sessions. Following through on your home assignments and sticking to your PT appointments will be the consistency you need to make progress. If you are still unsure about continuing PT, talk to your therapist or knee surgeon to learn about your progress and if there are any strategies to help you stay on track.