What Does Physiotherapy Mean?

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Hands are one of the organs we use the most in our daily life. Being unable to use our hands for any reason substantially curbs one’s daily life and business life. For treatment of hand injuries, physical therapy and rehabilitation are both of complementary aspects of surgery. Unless patients undergo physiotherapy and rehabilitation supports properly and in a timely manner, it will be very difficult for them to attain the intended target no matter how successful the operations are. The intended purpose of rehabilitation is to enhance the hand functionality and life quality of the patient. Post-operative rehabilitation period differs depending on the nature of injury and type of the operation. The objective here is to start with the treatment in the shortest time possible and to enable the patient to go back to his or her job at the earliest convenience.

Primary issues that require physiotherapy and rehabilitation in hand surgery:

  • Tendon injuries
  • Nerve injuries
  • Breaks and contusions of hand
  • Serious injuries of hand that adversely affect all constituents of the hand
  • Replantations 
  • Injuries of brachial plexus
  • Nerve compressions (carpal tunnel etc.)
  • Hand issues that emerge in time and especially observed in certain professions such as sports and musicianship
  • Natal hand abnormalities
  • Hand ambustions

Tendon injuries: These are the injuries that result in dysmotility in hand and particularly in fingers. Such injuries often require physiotherapy and rehabilitation following the surgical repair. Early treatment is crucial to control adehesive and possible joint stiffness in the operated area.

Nerve injuries: These are the injuries that result in topagnosis and loss of power in the hand. Such injuries might require physiotherapy after the nerve is repaired by way of microsurgical methods. Nerves are important structures that have a long recovery period after surgery. Follow up with regular physiotherapy, performing all necessary tests, using a set of hand braces depending on the need, electrical stimulation of weak muscles are all a must during the recovery period if the patient wishes to attain the intended target.

Breaks and contusions of hand: Such injuries that interrupt the motion integrity and appearance of the hand often require a long period of immobility in the post-operative period. The physical treatment period starts once the breaks recover and oedema is under control. In addition to exercises, a set of various electrotherapy methods and hand braces should be used in order to open up joint stiffness and adehesives due to bone damages and long-lasting immobility.

Serious injuries of hand: The post-operative detection period is also quite long for serious injuries of hand because of which nearly all constituents of the hand are adversely affected. The patient should start with physiotherapy within the shortest time possible. Although the rehabilitation period is also long for such injuries, the result is quite satisfactory for the patients that continue with their treatment on a regular basis.

Injuries of brachial plexus: Nerves extending from the neck region of the spinal cord are dispersed to the arms after they form a plexus in the shoulder. If the plexus, which is called brachial plexus in literature, is damaged for any reason (i.e. birth trauma, traffic accidents etc.) the relevant arm and hand becomes paralyzed. Physiotherapy is very important for injuries of brachial plexus in the post-traumatic period. A surgical therapy might be necessary for patients that do not recovery adequately by the end of a certain period of time. These patients need to undergo a long period of physiotherapy after surgery; more importantly, the participation and adaptation of the patient to the treatment, as well as informing the family about the treatment of babies in particular are crucial.

Nerve compressions: Nerves in the arm might be compressed in various tricky areas during their route as from the neck to the fingers (i.e. Carpal tunnel syndrome etc.). In such cases that often emerge due to incorrect positions and misuses, the patient may complain about feeling of pins and needles, famication and prostration in hands, arms or fingers. Although the case is controlled by way of various physical treatment methods and relaxation braces, it often requires a surgical treatment followed by a rehabilitation process.

Professional diseases: Extensive and repeated use of hands in a wide range of professions such as sports and musicianship might result in certain complaints in later years. As in the case of tennis elbow, feeling of pain and sensitivity observed in a place where frequently used tendons cleave into the bone often benefit from physical treatment practices and relaxation braces. Surgery might be required in resistant cases wherein complaints do not alleviate.

Natal hand abnormalities: In addition to surgical treatments applied onto newborns with differences in their hands, arms of fingers for various reasons, the physiotherapy and rehabilitation practices as from the early periods are crucial for the maintenance of recovery via surgical treatments. A plurality of surgical attempts might be required in some cases.  Physiotherapy and rehabilitation are both significant factors that improve treatment efficiency before and after operations.

Hand ambustions: Ambustion is one of the cases wherein rehabilitation rises in importance for hand surgery. With braces and exercises as from early periods, abnormal positions and limitation of movement ability due to non-functionality of  ambustions of tissue are intended to be controlleld; hence functionality obtained as a consequence of surgery is protected and further improved.

What should the patients of hand rehabilitation do?

  1. They should start with their treatment at times deemed proper by the physician and physiotherapist.
  2. They should continue with their treatment during the rehabilitation process on a regular basis.
  3. They should do their exercises at home as instructed by the physiotherapist during the treatment.
  4. If recommended to use any braces, they should use them as recommended.
  5. Once the treatment is over and the patient goes back to his or her job, the recommendation on the use of hands should be followed.
  6. After the treatment is over, they should continue with the recommended controlling follow-ups.