Orthopaedic Physiotherapy

A holistic approach requires a broad range of skills.

Orthopaedic medicine covers all the management of joint, ligament and tendon conditions and injuries. This will include operations such as total hip replacements or rotator cuff repairs in the shoulder, or management of injuries that don’t require surgery, such as Achilles tendonopathy. In fact, it encompasses a huge variety of conditions, any one of which you might be managed at the orthopaedic clinic of the hospital. This service is incredibly valuable, but it is under extreme pressure and waiting lists are longer than they have been for many years. Many conditions seen in the orthopaedic clinics don’t require surgery, but are sent for orthopaedic physiotherapy as a first line treatment, and a huge portion of these will recover with the right treatment and encouragement.

Orthopaedic Surgery or Physiotherapy?

It is not uncommon for patients to consider surgery is their best option, even before having tried physio and rehabilitation and yet the majority of orthopaedic conditions can be resolved with the right non-surgical treatment when delivered early and comprehensively. This means getting an assessment of your pain or injury early in its onset. Undergoing a thorough examination, and then sticking to a personalised plan of management. This can be overseen by us, or self managed by yourself – you get to choose! We always put you at the heart of the decision making process when it comes to your health.

What conditions may an orthopaedic physiotherapist see?

The types of conditions considered in this section would be:

  • Frozen shoulder
  • Rotator cuff tear repair
  • Shoulder dislocation/stabilisation
  • ACJ separation
  • Humeral fracture
  • Radial head fracture
  • Colles Fracture
  • Shoulder replacement
  • Cervical Radiculopathy
  • Colle’s Fracture
  • Carpal tunnel Syndrome
  • Osteoarthritis of the hip and knee
  • Total hip replacement
  • Arthroscopy of the hip
  • Total or partial knee replacement
  • Knee surgeries eg – meniscectomy, ligament repair – ACL
  • Ankle reconstruction


This list is not complete, so if you think you have hurt yourself and don’t see your injury and think you might benefit from an assessment, please give us a call or email us to discuss your concerns.

What may orthopaedic physiotherapy include?

Your management will depend on your diagnosis and the stage of the condition. It will also depend how it is affecting you in your life, what goals you have set yourself and how you want to be managed. Your physiotherapist will outline the optimal management for your problem based on these factors and in accordance with the current evidence based guidelines. We will be happy to liaise with your consultant or GP if required. Physis Physiotherapy are a registered supplier of Ossur braces and supports. If required we can supply and fit a brace if needed. If strength improvements are a big part of the rehabilitation plan, we can assess and train you on one of only two isokinetic machines in Edinburgh. This can be hugely beneficial in getting the most out of your strength programme. You may need a check in to see where you are strength wise in your recovery or an ongoing training programme for a period of time (usually 4-8 weeks) but challenging your self on the Biodex will give a real boost to your recovery. Many patients will actually do really well with self management approaches when given the right advice and rehabilitation programme. This takes discipline to adhere to a long term plan. But you can overcome your condition / pain based on the information given to you from a single session. This may not be possible for many problems and a course of treatment maybe the better option. As an ethically driven and evidence based practice, we believe in putting you at the heart of your healthcare needs. Please contact us if you have any questions about how we can help you with your orthopaedic related pain or to make an appointment at any of our four Edinburgh Physiotherapy clinics.