Orthopedic physical therapy involves the rehabilitation of an injured bone, muscle, tendon, ligament, joint, or limb. The injury may have been acute (the result of one incident) or chronic (long-term repeated trauma). The patient may begin therapy after undergoing an amputation or surgery to correct or improve the problem.
Rehabilitation programs are tailored to each patient with the goals of relieving pain and restoring maximum function to the injured area. Stretching and strengthening exercises are critical. Improvement is sought in strength, flexibility, mobility, coordination, posture, balance, gait, cardiopulmonary health, and pain. Treatment modalities may include massage, electrical stimulation, heat and cold applications, or alternative therapies. For athletes, rehabilitation typically involves a dual fitness program of weights and cardiovascular training.