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What is orthopedic physical therapy?

Orthopedic physical therapy focuses on the treatment or rehabilitation of injuries to the orthopedic system, which includes muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments. Physical Therapy is often helpful in the treatment of orthopedic conditions that can cause pain, decreased strength, decreased range of motion, or swelling.

Our physical therapists are experts in evaluating, treating and managing patients with orthopedic conditions. Some of these conditions include sprains, strains, tendonitis, arthritis, ligament tears, muscle tears, joint/muscle/tendon inflammations, post fracture injury, joint stiffness, joint pain, rotator cuff repair, ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) reconstruction, and post arthroscopic and total joint replacement surgeries.


  • Pain Modulation Techniques
  • Manual Therapy
  • Joint Mobilization
  • Manual Muscle Stretching
  • Soft Tissue Mobilization
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Heat/Cold Therapy
  • Postural Reeducation
  • Myofascial Release

What are the most common orthopedic surgeries requiring post-operative physical therapy?
The most common surgeries requiring post-operative physical therapy would be for the knees and shoulders. Today, most knee and shoulder surgeries are performed arthroscopically. Some specific surgeries for the knee would be ACL reconstruction, meniscectomy, meniscus repair, and lateral release of the patella. Common surgeries for the shoulder would be rotator cuff repair, acromioplasty (shaving of bone spurs on the acromion), SLAP repair, and capsular tightening for loose shoulder joints. In addition, joint replacement surgeries such as total knee replacements and total hip replacements often need post surgical outpatient physical therapy.

<I have shoulder pain. Where could my pain be coming from?
There are many reasons for shoulder pain and a thorough physical examination would help identify the reason but, in general, the majority of shoulder pain comes from the joint, tendons or cartilage. The most common diagnoses we see in our physical therapy clinics are rotator cuff tendonitis, biceps tendonitis, rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis), labral tears, and shoulder instability either from global instability (looseness of all of your joints) or from a traumatic shoulder dislocation.

I have knee pain. Where could my pain be coming from?
Most knee injuries fall under one of two categories- gradual onset or a traumatic injury. The gradual onset conditions tend to be more of the arthritis or tendonitis conditions such as osteoarthritis, patellofemoral (knee cap) pain,and patella tendonitis.The most common diagnoses for a traumatic injury are ACL, MCL, and meniscus tears. Patients respond well to physical therapy in most cases of gradual onset or traumatic knee injuries.

Anti-inflammatory medicine tends to help me a lot with my aches and pains. Why is this?
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) usually help with conditions aggravated by inflammation (the suffix “itis” means “inflammation of”). Some common inflammatory conditions would be arthritis (inflammation of a joint), plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, posterior tibialis tendonitis (shin splints), and lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow). Physical therapy may be beneficial for inflammatory conditions that do not improve through rest and medication.

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