Physical therapists working at Sterling Physical Therapy and Aquatics in California used their 500 T DW pool for their acute patients to help work on pain control. For sub-acute and post-surgical patients who had rotator cuff repair, total hip replacement, or total knee replacement, they used the SwimEx current to either help assist the range of motion, or to help strengthen them, and achieve physical rehabilitation success.
“The buoyancy of the water provides a less compressive environment, so it’s a really good way to get patients back into weight-bearing activity that they’re not quite ready for on land,” said Chris Karas, orthopedic and sports PT. “We can get them into walking, jumping, and running earlier than you could on the land side, because it’s just less irritating to the joints.”
Removable pool floor increases benefits
“The great thing about the SwimEx pools is their removable floor,” said aquatic therapist April Warynick. “We can have shallow and deep water, which aids in decompression of the spine and gait work. When you have the panels out, the water comes to chest level, which takes about 90% of the patient’s weight, so they only put 10% of compression on their joints and on their spine. When you put the panels back in, that brings it up to 50%, where they have 50% weight bearing on their joints and their spine.
“All in all, the pool with the panels gives you more versatility in your approach to gait problems, balance problems, and weight bearing,” April said.
Physical rehabilitation for athletes
“We also like to use the pool a lot with our athletes, for progressing into running,” Chris said. “So with our ACL reconstruction, hip surgery or knee surgeries, it’s really a good tool to use to build up their endurance and their muscles; to work on their running mechanics. Then you can progress onto land once you’re ready for that, and then eventually back into whatever their specific turf or field is.”
~ Authored by Liz Lecomte
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