Types of Physiotherapy

Fracture Physiotherapy

This is where a physiotherapist is needed to help a patient with a bone fracture. There are two types of fractures – open, where the bone has actually sticking out through the skin and closed where it has not. There are many types of fractures all requiring different procedures, simple ( two fragments) and complex (many fragments) , spiral (fracture extends in a spiral down the length of the bone)  oblique (where the fracture extends in an oblique line to the axis) and wedge (a wedge segment has become detached) , transverse (referring to the axis of the fracture in respect to its axis) , compression ( two bones forced or crushed together) and avulsion (complete detachment of a bone segment).

These types of fractures can be further classified into minimal or extensive soft tissue damage,  superficial or severe bone tissue damage, along with vascular and muscle damage. Often the injury will need immediate surgery using pins and or plates to help to hold the fractured bones in place as they start to heal, or sometimes the break will be manually eased back into place under anaesthetic. Sometimes a more conservative less invasive method is appropriate, depending on the injury whereby the fractured area is held in place without the use of surgery.

Either way, the physiotherapist is always needed to help the patient heal and regain full mobility – sometimes it takes a few weeks, in extreme cases it can take months, even years of physio before full recovery and mobility is possible. Physiotherapy is the real key stage in rehabilitating after a fracture, it is known to speed up the recovery time, decrease pain overall, increase strength in the weakened area and help to restore the person to normal mobility in the quickest time possible.

Hydrotherapy

One type of therapy physiotherapists can use is Hydrotherapy, which can be effective for a number of conditions and ailments, involving the use of water. The patient will be fully or partly immersed in water, which will support their weight and also be of benefit due to the temperature. It is used in the treatment of soft tissue injuries, joint injuries, paediatrics, rehabilitation from fractures and some neurological conditions. It can help with healing and management of pain, reduce stiffness and increase mobility and improve a person’s confidence when they have been suffering with restricted mobility. Also it can help to improve overall muscle tone and allow patients to do some lifting exercises while supported by the water.

Electrotherapy

There are a number of different types of electrotherapy including interferential. Ultrasound, laser therapy, pulsed shortwave and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. These are all ways in which various types of electrical energy can be applied to the body to help with the pain and swelling associated with soft tissue as well as bone injuries at a cellular level. These are well known and tested therapies that have been documented as having benefits including reducing swelling, optimising healing of tissue and pain relief. These therapies will be used in conjunction with the traditional physio exercises.

Amputee Physiotherapy

Amputee physiotherapy is for those who have had a limb amputated or are about to undergo a surgical amputation. Both before and after such an operation the physiotherapist will be able to offer invaluable assistance to the patient in either preparing them for the extreme changes and the adjustments they will have to make or helping them to cope, re adjust and live as close as possible to normal lives afterwards.
It could be as a result of diabetes, infection, trauma or an operation to modify or help with a deformity – this is a very specialized area of physiotherapy which serves to improve the overall quality of life helping the patient to heal themselves, restoring normal movement, improve mobility and help to restore their confidence. The services provided would often include advice and treatment prior to surgery, provision of a wheelchair when needed, help and advice with pain management, advice and support with prosthetic limbs and post operative bed exercises.