Aquatic ther­apy: Faster re­cov­ery for to­tal hip re­place­ments

The Boyertown Area Times - - COMMUNITY - By John R. Mishock, PT, DPT, DC Owner of Mishock Phys­i­cal Ther­apy & As­so­ci­ates

There are 120,000 hip re­place­ment surg­eries done each year in the United States. The fastest way to re­cover from hip re­place­ment surgery is to be­gin the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion process as soon as pos­si­ble. Of­ten, pain lev­els and heal­ing time im­pact the abil­ity to start phys­i­cal ther­apy. How­ever, aquatic ther­apy can be the first in­te­gral step to re­cov­ery. Aquatic ther­apy uses the phys­i­cal prop­er­ties of wa­ter to as­sist the pa­tient in heal­ing and ex­er­cise per­for­mance. For­tu­nately, the pain as­so­ci­ated with hip re­place­ment surgery can be de­creased or elim­i­nated in wa­ter due to de­creased weight bear­ing on the re­cov­er­ing hip and the warm, sooth­ing wa­ter.

One ben­e­fit of aquatic ther­apy is the buoy­ancy pro­vided by the wa­ter. While sub­merged in wa­ter, buoy­ancy as­sists in sup­port­ing the weight of the pa­tient. This de­creases the amount of weight bear­ing forces on the re­cov­er­ing hip. By de­creas­ing the amount of joint stress, it is eas­ier and less painful to per­form ba­sic be­gin­ning ex­er­cises. Of­ten there is no pain while in the wa­ter due to the buoy­ancy ef­fect.

The vis­cos­ity of wa­ter also pro­vides an ex­cel­lent source of re­sis­tance that can be eas­ily in­cor­po­rated into an aquatic ther­apy ex­er­cise pro­gram. This re­sis­tance al­lows for mus­cle strength­en­ing with­out the need of weights. This kind of strength­en­ing re­duces stresses on the mus­cles pro­tect­ing the heal­ing hip. Us­ing re­sis­tance cou­pled with the wa­ter’s buoy­ancy al­lows a per­son to strengthen mus­cle groups with de­creased joint stress that can­not be ex­pe­ri­enced on land alone.

Aquatic ther­apy also uti­lizes hy­dro­static pres­sure in de­creas­ing joint and soft tis­sue swelling that is re­sul­tant from the hip surgery. This re­duc­tion in swelling re­duces pain by de­creas­ing pres­sure on soft tis­sue and nerves.

Lastly, the warmth of the wa­ter ex­pe­ri­enced dur­ing aquatic ther­apy as­sists in re­lax­ing mus­cles and open­ing blood ves­sels, in­creas­ing blood flow to heal­ing hip. The in­creased blood flow brings in new oxy­gen and nu­tri­ents, which helps ex­pe­dite the heal­ing time.

At Mishock Phys­i­cal Ther­apy, Gil­bertsville, we have a state-of-the-art aqua ther­apy pool. This aqua ther­apy pool is sim­i­lar to those used in hos­pi­tals, re­hab clin­ics and col­lege and pro­fes­sional sports teams in­clud­ing the Philadel­phia Ea­gles, Fly­ers and Phillies.

If you have a re­cent to­tal joint re­place­ment, con­sult with your or­tho­pe­dic sur­geon to see if aquatic ther­apy would be ap­pro­pri­ate for you. Our staff would wel­come the op­por­tu­nity to help you de­crease pain, im­prove your func­tion and re­turn you to the high­est qual­ity of life pos­si­ble. We are here to serve you with six con­ve­nient lo­ca­tions in Skip­pack, Gil­bertsville, Barto, Phoenixville, Lim­er­ick and Stowe! For more in­for­ma­tion or to make an ap­point­ment, please call 610-3272600, email mishockpt@ com­ or visit us on­line at

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