Most people have heard of Rehabilitation, the undertaking of treatment and exercise regime following an injury. Some studies are now showing the effectiveness of undertaking Physiotherapy treatment and an exercise program designed to help reduce symptoms and strengthen a particular body area BEFORE undergoing surgery to repair the injury. This is called Prehabilitation.
Studies have shown that those patients who underwent prehab, had a faster return to sport, better muscle function and greater ability to tolerate uneven surfaces (proprioception).
Prehab: key aims
- Reduce pain and swelling rapidly
- Restore range of movement
- Gain muscular control of the injured limb, neuromuscular control needs to be restored prior to surgery in order to facilitate muscle recovery post-operatively. The stronger the muscles are, the faster they will recover afterwards.
- Encourage proprioceptive awareness and normal movement patterns, for athletes the importance of restoring neuromuscular function, including balance reactions and proprioception, cannot be over-emphasised.
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.