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How to use hydrotherapy in post-op rehabilitation.

In the early stages following a surgery, exercise therapy can be critical to the outcome of full rehabilitation.

Some of the key focal areas of rehabilitation include:

  • Restoring range of motion

  • Strength and muscle activation

  • Reduction of swelling

  • Pain management

  • Gait correction(walking pattern)

  • Balance

In the early days after surgery, these focal areas can be difficult to address, particularly if you are struggling with pain and weight baring. In the instance where pain and weight baring are concerns, hydrotherapy can be a great addition to your rehabilitation program.

What is Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is individualised exercise therapy in a heated pool. Hydrotherapy can be individual or in a group setting with client specific exercise programs designed by a Physiotherapist.

Why is it effective / what does it offer?


The ability to float in water, significantly decreases weight baring. This therefore makes it easier and less painful to walk and begin strengthening during recovery. Decreased weight (through buoyancy) allows greater movement through the water, which also gives increased active range of motion.

Drag resistance

This refers to the resistance of movement through water and can provide multiple planes of resistance for recovering joints and muscle groups. This can be very effective in the early stages of strengthening and muscle activation.

Hydrostatic pressure

This refers to the pressure exerted by water upon your body which acts like a compression garment. This allows for an increase in circulation which will be beneficial to reducing swelling and managing pain.


The heat of the water allows further stimulation to the blood flow which helps to relax muscle groups. This is important for range of motion, swelling and reducing pain and stiffness.


The buoyancy of the water allows support for those who are struggling with mobility and balance post-surgery. Hydrotherapy can also be a place to increase confidence on your feet and prevent falls.

These are just some of the benefits of hydrotherapy as part of a rehabilitation program. Our physiotherapists understand the importance of rehabilitation in getting you back on track and back to your usual activities. And your rehabilitation plan, both in and out of the water, will be as unique as your situation.

Your physiotherapist can liase with either your GP, case manager or sports coach as appropriate to help direct your rehab plan effectively. To book an appointment with a physiotherapist, click here.

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