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Case Study Shows Physical Therapy Treatment Is Beneficial After Osteoarthritis-Related Surgery | NEWS-Line for Physical Therapists & PT Assistants

Case Study Shows Physical Therapy Treatment Is Beneficial After Osteoarthritis-Related Surgery


A new case study released by Professional Therapy Associates reveals that physical therapy treatment led to substantial patient improvement after osteoarthritis-related knee replacement surgery. Physical therapists at the Flathead Valley, Montana, physical therapy clinic documented the results experienced by the patient after seven weeks of treatment.

Approximately 25% of the clinic’s patients undergoing physical therapy treatment seek relief from osteoarthritis, a debilitating disease that affects nearly 27 million Americans. According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis is a chronic condition characterized by a breakdown of the cartilage between joints. The loss of cartilage causes bones to rub against each other, resulting in reduced mobility and pain. Osteoarthritis often affects the hips, hands, knees, low back and neck, with symptoms typically appearing after age 40.

Statistics tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that osteoarthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Individuals with osteoarthritis of the knee may demonstrate a variety of impairments that prevent them from exercising regularly or performing other physical activities. Some require surgery, including total knee replacement.

Blaine Stimac, owner and CEO of Professional Therapy Associates, says physical therapy treatment can benefit patients recovering from total knee replacement surgery, as demonstrated in a recent case study conducted by physical therapists on his staff.

The subject of the case study, a 62-year-old male who had undergone a double total knee replacement, experienced significant pain and severe loss of mobility after his surgery. He required an assistive device to walk, and pain prevented him from going farther than a city block. Due to muscle weakness, he was unable to stand for more than 15 minutes at a time. His other symptoms included the inability to perform daily living activities, such as going up and down stairs, showering and standing up from a seated position without pain. He was also unable to work at his job as a saw mill operator.

The Professional Therapy Associates team developed a customized physical therapy treatment plan for the patient, consisting of three sessions per week for seven weeks. The treatment involved therapeutic exercises designed to improve range of motion, muscle strength and endurance, as well as hands-on therapy to increase joint motion and muscular mobility, and reduce inflammation around the knee joints. His treatment plan also called for therapeutic activities specific to his work and daily living needs, along with gait (walking) training, neuromuscular re-education (retraining the muscles how to work properly) and manual (hands on) therapy, including soft tissue and joint mobilization. Finally, he was educated on proper mechanics for movement and work-related tasks.

Following the prescribed course of physical therapy treatment, the patient demonstrated significant improvement in mobility and muscle strength. He reported an unlimited ability to stand without pain, and progressed to performing daily activities, walking unassisted and negotiating stairs without pain. His knee strength and range of motion returned to normal, and he was able to return to his job at the saw mill. He also experienced better sleep patterns due to decreased pain.

“As this recent case study demonstrates, physical therapy can be a highly effective treatment for the pain and range of motion problems that stem from osteoarthritis, either pre- or post-surgery. Our therapists have successfully treated many individuals suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee, helping them develop muscle strength, increased mobility and improved range of motion while alleviating their pain,” explained Stimac. “Rather than merely treating the symptoms, physical therapy helps to correct the causes of osteoarthritis, such as joint stiffness, poor body mechanics, and muscle weakness. Our patients have achieved real, measurable results after working with a physical therapist through a recommended course of treatment.”

Physical therapists complete advanced education and are specially trained to provide non-invasive, patient-specific plans of care. They promote long-term healing and relief from pain by combining manual techniques, strength and conditioning exercises, and therapeutic treatments. Stimac reports that he and his team of Montana-licensed physical therapists focus on non-surgical treatment to provide relief from osteoarthritis symptoms in the knees and elsewhere in the body. “Through low-impact strength training, stretching and conditioning, and techniques such as heat and cold therapies, we have helped countless patients throughout Flathead Valley to overcome the pain and physical limitations that are commonly associated with osteoarthritis.”

In a follow-up survey, the subject of the case study expressed a high level of satisfaction with his post-surgery physical therapy treatment for knee osteoarthritis. “My time at Professional Therapy Associates was definitely time well spent,” he reported. “My recovery time from double knee replacement was significantly reduced by the excellent care and abilities of the staff.”

Professional Therapy Associates offers free health screenings to Flathead Valley residents who wish to explore the benefits of physical therapy, which can be used to treat conditions ranging from osteoarthritis and back pain to injury rehabilitation. Individuals interested in the free health and injury screening, a $100 value, may register online at http://www.ptflathead.com/free-consultation..

To learn more about the physical therapy services provided by Professional Therapy Associates, visit http://www.ptflathead.com.

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