Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy

American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)

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Residency Curriculum: ISC 27.1, Postoperative Management of Orthopaedic Surgeries


This 6-monograph course covers postoperative management for injuries and pathology of the hip, knee, ankle/foot, cervical/lumbar spine, shoulder, and elbow. Each monograph addresses the anatomy and biomechanics of the structure, a review of select or common injuries, and nonsurgical and surgical management. Emphasis is placed on rehabilitation guidelines, precautions and contraindications to care, and also expected outcomes.


  1. Describe anatomy of the hip joint and how structure can relate to pathological conditions.
  2. Describe indications for surgical intervention and select surgical procedures of the hip.
  3. Describe postoperative rehabilitation intervention techniques following hip surgery.
  4. Know the common structures and pathomechanics involved in knee injury.
  5. Describe common surgical interventions for patients with knee pathology.
  6. Describe the physical therapy guidelines, phases, and goals for a patient who has undergone knee surgery.
  7. Understand the etiology of a calcaneal fracture, Lisfranc fracture/dislocation, and an Achilles tendon rupture.
  8. Identify the advantages and disadvantages of surgical fixation versus closed treatment for calcaneal fractures.
  9. Develop appropriate treatment plans for patients who have sustained a calcaneal fracture, Lisfranc fracture/dislocation, or an Achilles tendon rupture.
  10. Understand specific treatment precautions for patients who have sustained an Achilles tendon rupture.
  11. Develop an appropriate treatment plan for patients who have sustained a calcaneal fracture.
  12. Synthesize the current evidence comparing conservative care versus early surgery in different subgroups of patients with cervical and lumbar spine pain.
  13. Identify the clinical findings that identify patients who are most likely to benefit from cervical or lumbar surgical intervention.
  14. Compare the different surgical options for treatment of cervical and lumbar pain.
  15. Describe the benefits of rehabilitation versus no rehabilitation following cervical and lumbar surgery.
  16. Screen and appropriately manage postoperative complications for presented pathologies.
  17. Develop an evidence-based rehabilitation program for patients who have undergone different cervical and lumbar surgeries.
  18. Integrate biomechanics and pathomechanics of the shoulder to evaluation and treatment.
  19. Implement evidence-based nonoperative treatment strategies for shoulder pathology.
  20. Describe evidence-based rehabilitation guidelines following shoulder surgery.
  21. Understand the postoperative precautions associated with shoulder surgery.
  22. Understand the anatomy and biomechanics of the elbow complex and how it relates to surgical interventions, tissue healing, and treatment.
  23. Understand postoperative guidelines and treatment progression for the elbow complex.
  24. Identify the unique precautions and contraindications associated with each of the surgical procedures described for the elbow complex.
  25. Apply appropriate patient-reported outcome measures for select surgical procedures of the hip, knee, ankle/foot, spine, shoulder, and elbow.

Topics and Authors:​

  • Hip
    • Keelan Enseki, PT, MS, OCS, SCS, ATC, CSCS; Dave Kohlrieser, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, CSCS; Craig Mauro, MD; Michaela Kopka, MD, FRCSC; Tom Ellis, MD
  • Knee
    • Michael J. Axe, MD; Lynn Synder-Mackler, PT, ScD, FAPTA; Anna Shovestul Grieder, PT, DPT, OCS; Jeff Miller, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS; Melissa Dreger, PT, DPT; Michael Palmer, PT, DPT, OCS; Tara Jo Manal, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, FAPTA
  • Ankle and Foot
    • Stephanie Albin, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT; Mark Cornwall, PT, PhD, FAPTA; Drew H. VanBoerum, MD
  • Cervical and Lumbar Spine
    • Paul Reuteman, PT, DPT, MHS, OCS, ATC
  • Shoulder
    • Brittany Lynch, PT, DPT, SCS, OCS; Heather Christain, PT, DPT, SCS, OCS, CSCS; Christopher L. McCrum, MD; Dharmesh Vyas, MD, PhD
  • Elbow
    • Julia L. Burlette, PT, DPT, OCS; Amy B. Pomrantz, PT, DPT, OCS, ATC; Chris A. Sebelski, PT, PhD, OCS, CSCS; Justin M. Lantz, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT; John M. Itamura, MD

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