Limb lengthening is a complex procedure performed on individuals with congenital defects or skeletal abnormalities. After a lengthening procedure, physical therapy is performed to rehabilitate the patient in order to maximize the benefits of the lengthening surgery, and to return the patient to an optimal functional level. Here at Virginia Therapy & Fitness Center, we have several physical therapists that specialize in limb lengthening therapy.
A: Individuals who undergo limb lengthening procedures typically do so because their shortened limb(s) inhibits them from being able to perform everyday activities. During the rehabilitation process physical therapy will focus on:
The ultimate goal of limb lengthening physical therapy is to decrease the limb length discrepancy in order to restore functional independence for individuals with these conditions.
A: To start the rehabilitation process, an initial physical therapy evaluation will be performed. This will allow the physical therapist to assess the patient’s range of motion, strength and mobility, and any restrictions, precautions, or concerns that the patient may have.
After the initial evaluation, a plan of care will be developed with the goal of improving the patient’s strength and functional mobility, maximizing the patient’s range of motion, prevent contractures, and monitoring the patient for any complications that may occur during the lengthening process. In order to achieve this, the physical therapist will incorporate a multitude of interventions into each session:
A: After a limb lengthening procedure, a physical therapy initial evaluation should be performed 1-2 days after discharge from the hospital. At this initial evaluation, a plan of care will be developed between the physical therapist, patient, and support system. Follow up physical therapy appointments should then be performed 5x/week for approximately 3 months, depending on the goal length. Outside of physical therapy, the patient can expect to spend 1-3 additional hours per day performing their home exercises and stretching program. This is a vital component to the lengthening process, and is important for maximizing the benefit of the lengthening procedure.
A: While limb lengthening is not always a common procedure in the orthopedic field, VTFC recognized the need for physical therapists that are specialized in this procedure’s rehabilitation plan. Several of our therapists have completed an advanced course series from the Paley Institute, a world-renowned rehabilitation center in the reconstructive orthopedic field. This has allowed our therapists to gain specialized training in rehabbing patients undergoing limb lengthening surgery. Due to the delicate nature of this surgery, it is important to find a therapist that is well-educated on the rehab process.