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5 Tips for choosing a Physiotherapist after surgery

After orthopaedic surgery, such as a total knee replacement or total hip replacement, your surgeon will often recommend physiotherapy to help with the rehabilitation process. In fact, studies have shown that committing to an exercise plan and encouraging yourself to do as much as possible each day will help you heal faster from and improve your chances of long-term success. But, aside from Googling “physiotherapist near me” and choosing the closest, how do you know which physiotherapist is right for you?

Here are 5 things to consider when choosing a physiotherapist:

Personal Compatibility

Aside from the technical abilities of the physiotherapist, it is important to find a practitioner who you can build a good rapport with. In fact, research has shown that a good patient-physiotherapist relationship can not only lead to significantly better patient satisfaction and adherence to treatment, but also lead to improvements in clinical outcomes. Studies have identified 4 distinct characteristics to look for in a physiotherapist to improve your chances of having a good therapeutic relationship. The physiotherapist should be: present, receptive, genuine, and committed. This means, it is essential to find a physiotherapist who understand your goals and values and is willing to work together to achieve them. To help you find this information before beginning physiotherapy, you can read reviews on the internet (especially Google) and ask friends and families members who may have had experience working with physiotherapists. You can also ask your surgeon or Family Physician is they have any specific recommendations. Word of mouth and reviews from others are no doubt one of the best ways to find out if a physiotherapist has the personal qualities that will make you compatible.

Treatment Style

As with any journey, a single end point can have multiple ways of getting there. For example, all schools buses lead to school, but depending on the circumstance of each student, different buses will travel different routes. Some will be more efficient than others, while other may experience bumps along the way. In a similar fashion, different physiotherapists can treat and rehabilitate the same injury in completely different ways. Many will end of at the same end point, ie. a strong and stable knee, but they may have different ways of getting you there. One physiotherapist may be more “exercise based” than another, others may use more passive modalities (such as ultrasound or TENS), while others may turn to manual therapy (such as massage, joint mobilisation, or joint manipulation). Many use “combination therapy”, which as the name suggests, is comprised of all the above. It is worth asking yourself, and your surgeon, what type of therapy would be the conducive to your desired outcome. It is also worth mentioning, that though these different techniques often reach the same results, there are cases where research supports certain types more than others. For example, research supports exercise-based and active rehabilitation after a total-knee replacement. This means that one should look for a physiotherapy program that involves a home exercise plan comprised of strength and mobility exercises, and not just massage, to ensure proper restoration of function to the knee. Read reviews, asks around, and even call the Physiotherapist’s office, to ask what types of treatment the physiotherapist practices.

Length of Appointments

How long do you actually spend with your physiotherapist at your appointment? Are you “in-and-out” of the appointment in 20 minutes? Are you there for an hour, but only spend 15 minutes with the physiotherapist? Are you spending the entire hour with the physiotherapist? Some surgeons recommend 3 x one-hour long sessions with a physiotherapist per week after surgery. Does the physiotherapist you are looking to book with have capacity to see you 3 times a week, for an entire hour? Does the physiotherapist work with assistants or Kinesiologists? If so, will you be handed off to them more than you want to be? These are great questions to ask when looking into which physiotherapist to choose.

Hint: when booking an appointment, ask the administrative staff how often the Physiotherapist has appointments instead of how long the appointments are. Your appointment may be an hour long, but if the physiotherapist has an appointment every 15 minutes, chances are that you will only be seeing the physiotherapist for 15 minutes of that hour before they move on to the next patient.


To achieve the title of “Registered Physiotherapist”, a physiotherapist must go through intense written and practical exams at the national level. In addition to these exams, Physiotherapists can have additional specialisations, qualifications, and areas of interest that can provide them with additional knowledge to serve you better. Here are some good questions to ask before choosing a physiotherapist;

  • Has this physiotherapist worked with total knee/hip replacement patients (or my type of surgery) before?
  • Has this physiotherapist worked with my demographic much in the past (ie, senior, athlete, or patient with a complex medical history)?
  • Does this physiotherapist have any extra courses or training that may benefit me?

Driving capacity

After surgery, patients are often prohibited to drive. Therefore, they must rely on friends, family, or public transport to drive them to their physiotherapy appointments 3x/week. The use of walkers and other mobility aids, as well as the height of the car, can make getting into the transportation especially difficult. Consider looking into home physiotherapy as a convenient alternative to a physiotherapy clinic. An in-home physiotherapist can treat you in your own home, eliminating the need for you to rely on others to drive you to your appointment. Seeing as research heavily supports the use of home physio after surgery, it is a effective and highly beneficial alternative to a clinic.


In-home Therapeutics is fully mobile, home physiotherapy clinic that serves you in the comfort and convenience of your own home. We have experience in the most current, research supported intervention for rehabilitating you to your full potential after your surgery. You can expect one-hour of on-on-one treatment with the Physiotherapist in your home. Our model of brining our fully-stocked and mobile physiotherapy clinic to you is both convenient and effective after surgery. We offer home physiotherapy in Eastern Ontario, including Cornwall, Brockville, Kingston, and Ottawa.

Call us at (343) 370-7393 of click below for more information.


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