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Serious orthopaedic – treatment, care and rehabilitation

From initial medical treatment to the ongoing care and home adaptations required in the aftermath of a serious orthopaedic injury, recovery can be a long term, even life-long, process.

Here you can read more about treatment and rehabilitation, orthopaedic injury care and the psychological impact of these kinds of serious injuries.

Serious orthopaedic injuries are treated in a number of ways, which fall largely into 3 areas:

  • Surgery

  • Medication

  • Physiotherapy

Surgery and medical treatment can be required in a number of instances, from the repair of fractured bones or torn ligaments, to hip and knee replacements (arthroplasty) to key-hole surgery (arthroscopy).

Since infection is a risk, and pain can also be excruciating, this treatment is likely to be combined with a course of medication. Once the initial healing process has taken place, the patient can begin the rehabilitation phase.

Stages of serious orthopaedic injury treatment and rehabilitation

The aim of treatment and rehabilitation for orthopaedic rehabilitation is to help a patient to regain as much independence as possible. This is accomplished by providing a structure and framework for their time and keeping their activity levels high.

There are three stages of rehabilitation:

  • Acute stage – Performing surgery and supporting patient to do things they cannot. This is usually carried out in intensive care.

  • In-patient rehabilitation – Can take place at hospital or in-patient centre, improving functionality, strength and mobility, finding new ways to accomplish daily tasks.

  • Out-patient rehabilitation – Patients live at home and have sessions at home or in rehabilitation centres. The aim is to maximise their ability to live independently.

Types of therapy

  • Occupational therapy – Supporting patients through processes previously considered normal and every-day, such as bathing. Injuries or bandages and other apparatus can make them much more difficult.

  • Physiotherapy – Making key muscle groups stronger to increase ability and endurance. Physiotherapy can be frustrating, painful and tiring and it is important that the patient receives the right help and support.

  • Psychotherapy – Reducing negative thinking during difficulty and emphasising positive thinking. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) aims to improve the patient’s thought processes and encourage a positive outlook for the future.

The psychological impact of orthopaedic injuries

Patients living with orthopaedic injuries can experience negative psychological effects, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and isolation.

It can be difficult for patients to move on from the incident which caused their injury and they can be haunted by memories for a long time. Meanwhile, their injuries might make social activities and other aspects of their former life impossible. This can lead to feelings of helplessness and isolation and should be monitored very closely by the people around them.

Find more information on the official website of the British Orthopaedic Association.

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