Post-Surgical Rehab Should Not Be a Cookie-Cutter Approach


Dr. John De Noyelles, PT, OCS, CSCS

Sometimes surgery for orthopaedic conditions is unavoidable.  Have you recently undergone surgery?

…Or did you undergo surgery a long time ago and still don’t feel fully restored?


Your surgeon likely gave you a general rehab protocol designed for all and then you underwent standard, one-size-fits-all, “cookie-cutter” physical therapy.

If the surgery was unique and individualized to you, shouldn’t the rehab be as well?


…More importantly:

Your rehab should address why you had to undergo surgery in the first place!


Yes, there are some very basic instructions and exercises to follow after surgery.  Beyond this, however, rehab should address the following:

  1. Features that may have contributed to why you needed surgery including range of motion limitations, weakness, and movement dysfunctions.
  2.  Proper progression after meeting your short-term milestone criteria and goals.
  3. Specialization.  In other words, training towards the specific demands for your daily life, work, athletics, and fun activities…(yes, fun activities!)
  4. A focus on long-term goals.
  5. You, the individual, and your physical and emotional response to the surgery and subsequent treatments.

Surgery is one step in the process.  Rehabilitation, in order to achieve the best results, should be at least slightly different for every individual regardless of the surgery.


Pro Tip:

If you do not feel like your needs are being met and/or your rehab looks the same as what everyone else in the room is doing, then you need to discuss this with your provider…or find a new one.


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