March 2017

Early PT after hindfoot fracture surgery may help patients better address anxiety

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Patients who undergo surgery for hindfoot fracture can safely start physical therapy two weeks later, which could provide an opportunity to improve outcomes, according to research from Utah presented at the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting.

Investigators randomized 50 patients to undergo 10 physical therapy sessions either two or eight weeks after open reduction internal fixation of the calcaneus or talus.

Scores on two outcome questionnaires did not differ significantly between groups at three, six, or 12 months after surgery. There was also no difference in adverse events. For the study population overall, self-reported anxiety at baseline was significantly associated with Lower Extremity Functional Scale score at six and 12 months.

“There is no downside to initiating PT early. By doing that, we may be able to better address some of the psychosocial factors that can affect outcomes,” said Stephanie Albin, DPT, a physical therapist with Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, UT, who presented the findings in February at the meeting, which was held in San Antonio, TX.


Albin S, Koppenhaver S, Fritz J, et al. Timing of supervised physical therapy after hindfoot fractures: A randomized controlled trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2017;47(suppl 1):A2.

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