The history of orthopedic physical therapy originated in Egypt as far back as 2830 B.C. Splints have been found on mummies made from bamboo, reeds, wood and bark, padded with linen (). Orthopedic physical therapy has also been recognized in ancient Greece around 430 and 330 B.C. Hippocrates had developed special splints for fractures and focused on aspects of the knee during this era (). Modern orthopaedics, with particular focus on the year 1741, shows Nicholas Andry as being the father of orthopaedics. Andry coined the word, which derived from the Greek words for “correct” or “straight” (orthos) and “child” (paidion). Orthopedic physical therapy specialized in the US in 1974. The Orthopedic Section of the APTA was formed for physical therapists that specialized in Orthopedics. Orthopedic physical therapy includes treatment of the musculoskeletal system that has been subject to injury or trauma. This includes sprains, strains, post fracture, post-surgery and repetitive injuries (Orthopedic Physical Therapy). Orthopedic physical therapy focuses primarily on treating post-operative joints, acute injuries, arthritis, and amputations. This therapy is essential to reestablish the patient’s strength, activity or motion after injury or surgery. Some approaches to orthopedic therapy are stretching, strength training, cold/hot packs, joint mobilizations, and electrical stimulators. Also used sometimes are ultrasounds when dealing with muscle retraining. Stretching is good if the patient has a stiff joint. It is extremely crucial to perform proper stretching techniques. Strength training exercises can be closed chain workouts or proprioceptive workouts. Closed chain workouts are meant to assist and balance the strength of muscles whereas proprioceptive workouts assist patients who lost the sense of knowing where a body part is in space. The heat and ice therapy contributes to the circulation of blood which decreases swelling. It is also used as a warm up or cool off of the muscles being treated. With the use of sonogram, deep tissues are stimulated and warmed (Physical Therapy). Just like in any physical therapy, it is important to keep the concept of function in mind. If the patient presents complaints in the musculoskeletal system or if any abnormality has been observed, it is important to do a detailed Orthopedic Physical Therapy examination. To perform an orthopedic physical therapy examination of the muscles, bones and joints, start by dividing the musculoskeletal system into functional parts. Use the opposite side for comparisons. Upon examination, one should note areas of enlargement while palpating the joints and surrounding structures. By noting carefully the stability of the enlargement and its boundaries, one can decide whether this is due to bony widening, thickening of the synovial lining of the joint, soft tissue swelling of the structure surrounding the joint, an effusion into the joint capsule, or nodule formation, which might be located in a tendon sheath, subcutaneous tissue, or other structures about the joint. While palpating the joints, the therapist should note areas of increased warmth (Orthopedic Physical Therapy).
There are two types of equipment used in orthopedic therapy. The first are items that are worn and used to support and stabilize weak or traumatized body parts. Back braces; cervical collars; wrist, hand and elbow splints; and knee and ankle braces are a few examples. An injured body part requires stabilization to heal and prevent additional injury. These braces are often made from a mold taken of the affected body part for a perfect fit to insure complete support. The second type of equipment is meant to assist with activities of daily living and enable one to complete difficult tasks. These items are often referred to as durable medical equipment. The most common DME items include canes; crutches; walkers; adaptive strollers; manual and power wheelchairs. Other forms of DME...
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