New trend in orthopedic recovery starts healing process before the surgery

CINCINNATI (WKRC) – A newer trend in surgical healing starts before you go under the knife.

It's being called "prehab," and for those who get injured and need surgery, it can make a big difference in the recovery process.

"I tore my ACL August of 2020," said student athlete Abby Unkraut.

Unkraut credits her success recovering from her knee injury to prehab.

"My knee was locked in position from when I tore it, so that really just helped my knee flatten out again," she said.

The method helps reduce the time needed after the operation to get back to functioning normally.

"We call it prehab, so it's pre-rehabilitation, so it's rehab before they go to surgery, and we usually use a two-to-four week time frame for an athlete to get them prepped and ready for surgery," said Dr. Adam Metzler, an orthopedic surgeon at OrthoCincy.

Dr. Metzler says that with certain injuries, it keeps as many muscles around the injured area limber as possible.

"I always say, preoperative motion predicts postoperative motion," he said.

"Our main goal is to increase range of motion, try to minimize swelling, and, if we can, start to do some strengthening," said OrthoCincy physical therapist Samantha McCracken.

After working with McCracken, Unkraut says her knee not only has full range of motion, but after prehab and rehab, it's even stronger than it was before her injury.

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