Common Orthopedic Diagnoses | Vibra Rehabilitation Hospital of Amarillo


Hello, my name is Kevin Nicholson. I’m the Director of Therapy Services at Vibra
Rehabilitation Hospital in Amarillo, Texas. Today, I’d like to talk to you about a couple
of the more common orthopedic diagnosis that we see in our rehabilitation hospital. When we talk about orthopedic diagnosis, the
word orthopedic really just refers to bones or joints. Two of the more common that we see are total
hip replacements and total knee replacements. When someone has a total hip or a total knee
replacement, many times, in fact probably most of the time, they’re going to be just
fine to return home from the hospital after the surgery. However, for some people, complications can
arise following the surgery. These complications can hamper their recovery
and those that have had complications are often the ones that we see referred to our
rehabilitation hospital, because, quite frankly, they’re just not ready nor are they safe to
return home. For those people, treatment becomes more than
just exercises to improve the function of the muscles of the hip or of the leg or exercises
to improve range-of-motion of the knee. The focus must shift to ensuring that the
patient is actually going to be able to function within their home. Sure, it’s important to improve the strength
of the surgical leg by performing traditional exercises. In fact, whenever the patients
are here in our rehabilitation hospital, some of those exercises like laying on their back
on the bed or on the treatment table in the therapy gym, we may incorporate those exercises. However, the critical question then becomes:
what good is improved strength if a patient is unable to, say squat to reach pots and
pans in a low drawer in their kitchen when they get home? Or if they’re unable to walk up and down their
countertops to prepare a simple meal? Improved strength without improved function
sometimes is meaningless. In order to address these functional needs,
the therapists at Vibra Rehabilitation Hospital in Amarillo will incorporate exercises and
functions all at one time. A good example of this is exercises to strengthen
and improve control of the front thigh muscles — what we refer to as the quadriceps muscles. For people that have had a total knee replacement,
the ability to control the knee and standing in a weight-bearing position is critical. For example, we may start those patients on
an exercise such as a standing mini-squat. We start to build the patient’s confidence
in their ability to move with their feet planted on the floor. Maybe even without their walker or any other
supportive device. Once they’ve got to a point of increased confidence
with performing the mini-squat in this example, we may then have them start to perform things
such as a low-level squat to pick an object up off of a tabletop, or off of a low table
in their room, trying to mimic a home setting, something they may be encountered with in
their home environment once they’ve reached their maximum level of improvement. It’s more than just improving strength and
range-of-motion of their leg if they’ve had a knee or hip replacement — we have to address
function, and we’re very able and very well-equipped to do that here at Vibra Rehabilitation Hospital
in Amarillo.

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