For years there has been mixed opinions on the role of physiotherapy in the management of individuals awaiting joint replacement or in the post replacement period. For physiotherapists, it seems like a no brainer but the evidence doesn’t always add up. In addition, the total joint replacment creates such a drastic change, perhaps measureable quantities attributable to physiotherapy interventions are much too small. I might argue, we are measuring the wrong thing, but that is for another day.
So with that in mind, lets introduce a new and emerging role of physiotherapy in the care spectrum of total joint arthroplasty: Deciding who gets surgery! Isn’t this great.
While it is a foreign and contested concept in some centers, there are (leading) institutions in Canada who have engaged Advanced Practice Physiotherapists in this process with remarkable results.
Please see the CBC article on this topic and send to anyone who is interested in getting their knees or hips replaced. Unfortunately, there is not yet a wide base of evidence to support this change in practice but remember, absense of evidence does not mean evidence of absence. When we are told that “there is no evidence that A helps with B” we should first ask whether this means simply that there is no information.
If you have evidence of outcomes resulting from the engagment of physiotherapy in deciding who gets to see the surgeon for total hip or knee replacement, please send it along. Lets support physiotherapy and lets support these roles and work together for the future of Musculoskeletal Health in Canada.
PS: For more info our our joint replacement statistics please see previous Blog post.