What to Expect at Your Physical Therapy Appointment

If you’ve been diagnosed with a soft tissue or bone injury or are recovering from surgery, our team at Maryland Orthopedic Specialists may recommend physical therapy to help you heal, manage, and adapt long-term.

You’ve heard of physical therapy, but may not know what to expect. Physical therapy is sometimes thrown around as a casual term and treatment modality, but what’s involved in physical therapy is sort of mysterious. 

We want you to feel comfortable and confident when you visit our offices. Our physical therapists are trained and licensed medical professionals who are indispensable in your treatment plan. Here’s what to expect at your physical therapy appointment.

Role of a physical therapist

A physical therapist can help you restore physical function and mobility, maintain function even when you’re injured, and promote physical activity and proper function by helping you overcome imbalances or pain.

At Maryland Orthopedic Specialists, we may recommend physical therapy to help you find pain relief, improve mobility, strengthen joints, prevent future injury, and help with healing.

Your first appointment

A great benefit of our in-house physical therapy team is that we have access to all your medical records and can reach out directly to your orthopedist about specific concerns.

At your first visit, your physical therapist reviews your orthopedic treatment plan with you and discusses your particular symptoms, needs, and expected level of function.

Come to your appointment dressed in loose-fitting, comfortable clothing and athletic shoes. We evaluate the area that’s injured and assess your strength, functional mobility, balance, and range of motion.

Your physical therapy plan

Everyone’s physical therapy plan is customized, so there’s not a standard set of exercises or therapies to expect.

You learn exercises specifically to help you restore mobility to injured joints. These exercises might seem simple and passive at first, but as you make progress, the exercises become more involved. 

Physical therapy may also include hands-on stretching and joint manipulation as well as hot and cold therapy, electrical stimulation, and localized massage.

Physical therapy appointments are a good time to ask questions about healing and return to normal activity. It’s important that you understand what exercises you should do on your own between visits. Your therapist can also make recommendations about supportive devices like wraps or splints.

After an appointment

You may have some discomfort after a therapy session because the exercises can push your limits at times. But you shouldn’t have serious pain as a result.

Stick to your own personal therapy schedule. You do a lot of good work during your appointment, but you are also responsible for carrying out exercises between visits. This helps you heal faster and most effectively.

You come in for physical therapy one to three times per week for several weeks or months, depending on your particular circumstances. The exact schedule for your physical therapy is personalized to you.

If you have an orthopedic complaint that requires physical therapy or a full medical evaluation, call us today to schedule an appointment. Our offices are located in Bethesda and Germantown, Maryland.

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