Joints are not the only structures to suffer from a period of immobilisation, muscles will waste away. This is why it is important that during the time a splint, a brace or a plaster cast is worn the parts of the limb which are not immobilised should be moved. This will fight muscle wasting and increase blood supply in the area. For example, if your plaster leaves your fingers or your toes free, it is important to move them. Studies have even suggested that just imagining exercising can delay muscle wasting by creating stronger connections between the brain and the muscles.
In most cases, 6 to 8 weeks of immobilisation is sufficient for bones to heal and as soon as the plaster is removed the period of rehabilitation must start without delay.
Although the exercise sheet will tell you what to do, it will not answer questions like: “How far should I go?”, “Should I go through the pain barrier and, if so, how far and for how long?”, “Do I run the risk of breaking the bone again if I overdo it?” It is at this stage that an assessment followed by some extra physiotherapy sessions may prove useful. To save time and money it is sometimes possible for the physiotherapist to train a relative who can become a kind of “home rehabilitation assistant”. With mobile phones it is easy to film a rehabilitation session and this provides both the patient and the helper with some extra guidance. Once maximum mobility has been restored, recovering muscle strength is going to be much easier and is usually only a question of time and repetitive exercises. If you think you need some help with your rehabilitation after a fracture, you can always contact us for some physiotherapy advice and guidance.
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