Skip to main content
Book Appointment

«  View All Posts

Physical Therapy and Orthopedic Surgery: Pre and Post Reasons and Benefits

August 29th, 2022 | 3 min. read

By Rob S Williams, MD

physical therapy and orthopedic surgery 1


Orthopedics is a branch of the medical field with surgeons specializing in injuries and disorders involving the musculoskeletal system including bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Orthopedic specialists utilize both surgical and non-surgical treatment to formulate a care plan for degenerative diseases, traumatic injuries from contact sports, or other accidents, infections, and disorders present at birth. Orthopedics and physical therapists work hand-in-hand to treat each patient with an individualized evaluation and treatment plan.

What role does physical therapy play in orthopedics?

Orthopedic specialists work alongside physical therapists to provide quicker recovery times and better surgical outcomes to patients requiring orthopedic care. Orthopedic physical therapists are licensed physical therapists that have undergone extensive training in the musculoskeletal system to better treat patients.

Physical therapy includes many methods of treatment, including massage therapy, the application of heat and ice, muscle stimulation, strength training, joint mobilization, and education to prevent future injuries. Therapy may be provided at home, at a clinic, or in a hospital setting to accommodate your needs.


Common orthopedic conditions

The human body endures a lot day in and day out, so it is no surprise there are more than one billion musculoskeletal injuries worldwide each year. The most common orthopedic injuries include:

Knee injuries

  • ACL tear. An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is a common knee injury from contact sports like football and soccer. An ACL tear is a serious injury leaving a person with joint instability and being unable to put weight on the affected knee.
  • Meniscus tear. The meniscus is a protective cartilage allowing the knee to freely move. When the meniscus is torn, people experience difficulty walking, bearing weight, and often require surgery depending on the severity.


Shoulder injuries

  • Shoulder separation. Shoulder separations are the direct result of a fall or serious injury to the shoulder. A direct hit to the shoulder may result in connective ligaments stretching or becoming completely torn.
  • Torn rotator cuff. The shoulder is an important joint in the human body with the widest range of motion, but, if it is pushed beyond its limits, serious injury may occur. The rotator cuff, a group of muscles and tendons, surrounds the shoulder to allow movement, but when the rotator cuff stretches too far, a tear may occur.


Chronic conditions

  • Arthritis. Arthritis is a long-term condition that causes inflammation, swelling, and pain affecting various joints throughout the body including the hips, ankles, knees, and other joints.


What are the benefits of physical therapy before surgery?

Disorders of the musculoskeletal system range in severity and may be acute (new) or chronic (long-lasting). For minor injuries or disorders like arthritis, an orthopedist will recommend physical therapy to help you learn strengthening exercises and specialized stretches to reduce pain and inflammation. The healthier your body is, the better chance you have at a quicker recovery with fewer complications. Participating in physical therapy services before surgery, when appropriate, can help to strengthen the body and prepare you for recovery after surgery.


What are the benefits of post-operative physical therapy?

Millions of orthopedic surgeries, whether elective or a necessity, are performed each year in the United States. Things like degenerative diseases and traumatic injuries often require surgery to repair an affected joint, reattach muscles, or repair damage to surrounding tissues. Physical therapy after surgery plays a critical role in managing pain, improving strength, and recovering any mobility that was lost.


Interested in scheduling an appointment?

Coastal Orthopedics Request an Appointment



What does physical therapy help with?

Physical therapy, also known as physiotherapy, is designed to promote healing, maintain health, and provide education to prevent future injuries. This specialized type of therapy is provided by a licensed physical therapist who has undergone extensive education and training. Physical therapy is designed to help with many aspects of patient healing including:

Pain management

One of the most common complaints brought to orthopedic specialists is chronic pain. Chronic pain is often treated through a combination of prescription or over-the-counter medication, therapy, or surgical intervention to correct the underlying musculoskeletal disorder.

Strengthening techniques

The musculoskeletal system is designed to support our total body weight each day allowing us to perform daily tasks, go to school and work, and spend time with friends and family. When a serious injury occurs it can impact many areas of life and significantly affects a person’s mobility and strength. Physical therapists help to educate patients on specialized exercises to strengthen the body from the core to promote healing and prevent further injury.

Delay elective surgeries

Not all injuries involving the musculoskeletal system require immediate surgical intervention, however, people opt for elective surgeries rather than trying therapy or medication. Those who are good candidates for physical therapy and chiropractic care can delay invasive interventions. Receiving care from an orthopedist almost always results in surgery eventually. Physical therapy before surgery can help to prepare the body, reduce the risk of complications, and make rehabilitation and recovery after surgery easier.


Orthopedic Care on the Texas Gulf Coast

At Coastal Orthopedics, we understand the importance the musculoskeletal system has in providing structure, support, and functionality to the human body. We understand how the body works to heal itself from the inside out through the production of platelet-rich plasma. By extracting blood from a patient and placing it in a specialized machine, the platelets are separated from the other components and injected back into the patient to promote healing at a cellular level.

We use modern technology and advanced techniques to treat a wide variety of injuries, including:

  • ACL repair
  • Computer-assisted joint replacement
  • Distal bicep tendon tear
  • Distal radius fracture
  • Platelet-rich plasma injections
  • Robotic-assisted knee replacement
  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Shoulder replacement
  • Total hip replacement
  • Visionaire total knee replacement


The board-certified orthopedists at Coastal Orthopedics are highly trained with extensive experience in treating traumatic injuries, disorders involving the spine, and sports medicine. Our providers have a passion for treating injuries and illnesses involving the musculoskeletal system through medication management, surgical intervention, and partnering up with licensed physical therapists. By partnering with other medical professionals, we can provide better care.

If you are living with chronic pain or have experienced an injury, schedule an appointment today with Coastal Orthopedics for an evaluation.


Rob S Williams, MD

Dr. Williams has been practicing orthopedic surgery in Corpus Christi since 1998. After graduating from Texas Tech hereceived his medical degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. At the prestigious Campbell Clinic located at the University of Tennessee, Dr. Williams completed not only an Orthopedic Surgery Residency, but an additional year of Fellowship Training in Spine Surgery. Dr. Williams is dedicated to creating an excellent patient experience in the office or in the surgery suite.