If you've had a chronic bone or muscle disorder or are recovering from an injury or orthopedic surgery, rehabilitation medicine can help restore your comfort and function and get you back to doing the activities you enjoy. Specialists in NewYork-Presbyterian's nationally ranked Rehabilitation Medicine program design a customized regimen of therapy just for you — one that meets your individual needs and puts you on the road to recovery.
Care for All Conditions
Our rehabilitation medicine team cares for people who are recovering from orthopedic surgery as well as those with injuries and chronic musculoskeletal disorders. We provide postoperative rehabilitation for patients who have had surgeries such as:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repairs or reconstruction
- Surgical repair of arm and leg fractures
- Knee and hip replacements
- Rotator cuff (shoulder) repairs
- Spinal surgeries
- Meniscus repair in the knee
We can also help people recovering from injuries and living with chronic or degenerative conditions such as:
- Sprains and strains
- Sports injuries
- Back or neck pain
- Herniated discs
- Pain related to myofascial impairments or posture problems
- Knee pain and patellofemoral syndromes
- Plantar fasciitis (inflammation of tissues in the sole of the foot)
An Experienced Team
If you are undergoing rehabilitation after surgery, your orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon will typically oversee your recovery program. If you are recovering from an injury or seeking rehabilitation for a chronic or degenerative musculoskeletal problem, either your referring physician or a physiatrist (rehabilitation medicine physician) from our department will direct your care. In both cases, your doctor works closely with physical therapists and occupational therapists as well as nurses who have extraordinary experience helping people regain strength and function. Together, we use the latest techniques to treat you with compassion and understanding. We know that recovery can sometimes take a long time, and we are with you every step of the way.
Prompt, Effective, and Innovative Care
If you are being treated in the hospital as an inpatient — for example, after a surgical procedure or injury — rehabilitation commonly begins before discharge from the hospital. Once you are able to leave the hospital, some individuals may benefit from intensive rehabilitation in one of our rehabilitation units, located at Weill Cornell Medical Center (Baker 17) and at the Columbia University Medical Center (Milstein 8 Garden North). We also provide outpatient therapy and incorporate the latest advances into your care. Our goal is to return you to a maximum level of function in your home, at work, and in your community.
An Accurate Diagnosis
Our musculoskeletal rehabilitation services include the full array of diagnostic and treatment options. For example, our physiatrists are highly skilled experts in the use of diagnostic ultrasound, which we can use to supplement our physical examination during an office visit. Based on these images, we can make a diagnosis immediately, or, when needed, order additional tests, such as an MRI or CT scan, to make an accurate diagnosis — the first and most important step in your care. Using these tools, our doctors have become adept at defining not just where a musculoskeletal problem is happening, but what is causing it — knowledge that helps them plan your treatment.
Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation
Your surgeon or physiatrist will customize a recovery plan for you that may include one or more of these therapies:
Physical therapy. Physical therapists (PTs) use a variety of techniques to help you get moving, reduce your pain, restore your function, and prevent disability. Many of our physical therapists are certified by the American Physical Therapy Association as orthopedic or geriatric clinical specialists. Following a prescription from your doctor, they personalize a plan of care that may include manual therapy and exercises to help you get stronger, become more flexible, and achieve a healthier and more active lifestyle. Your PT will show you how to do the exercises during each session, but it is important for you to do “homework” exercises to fully benefit from the treatment.
Occupational therapy. Occupational therapists help you relearn the skills of daily living, such as taking care of yourself, getting dressed, writing, regaining balance and coordination, and using supportive equipment. Occupational therapists are also involved in upper limb exercise therapies to build up your strength and range of motion. The goal of occupational therapy is to enable you to lead an independent, productive, and satisfying life. You will receive guidance on exercises you can do at home to ensure you receive the full benefit of your therapy.
Aquatic therapy. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center offers therapy in a warm swimming pool that provides a comfortable place to perform exercises and activities that may be too difficult to do outside of the water. Aquatic therapy includes relaxation exercises, mobility exercises, strengthening, stretching, and walking exercises and may be useful for some people with musculoskeletal problems. Medications or injections. Some people benefit from injections (such as cortisone into joints), nerve blocks, and other interventional therapies to relieve pain and discomfort. Our physiatrists have exceptional experience providing these treatments, and usually do so with ultrasound guidance to enhance treatment precision.
Regenerative therapies. These innovative treatments harness your body’s own ability to heal damaged tissue. Our regenerative medicine specialists offer the latest treatments to relieve pain and speed the healing of joint, tendon, and soft-tissue injuries and degenerative conditions using injections such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP, which uses concentrated platelets from your blood to stimulate healing). Our team conducts research to evaluate novel regenerative medicine approaches. Your physiatrist will let you know if you might benefit from a regenerative therapy.
Foot Evaluations and Orthotic Prescriptions
At NewYork-Presbyterian, we have physical therapists who specialize in the evaluation of how your feet and ankles move and function. We can use this information to give you a prescription for custom orthotics (shoe inserts), if we decide that is what is best for you.
A comprehensive assessment. Foot and ankle problems can cause many other aches and pains in your knees, hips, and lower back. An examination of the way your foot bones, joints, and tendons move and absorb the shock and weight of walking or running helps us determine the best care for you. The evaluation includes an examination, observation of how you walk, exercise instruction, manual therapy techniques, instruction in proper shoe wear, and if necessary, a prescription for foot orthotics.
Orthotic prescriptions. A prescription for orthotics might include making temporary orthotics as well as casting for a permanent pair. “Biomechanical” orthotics control excessive and harmful joint movements by changing the position and mechanics of your foot when you are walking or running. “Accommodative” orthotics do not control motion, but help to cushion your foot, absorb shock, and distribute your weight more evenly. If you need orthotics, your physical therapist will determine which type is best for you, and work with your physician to coordinate care.