Road Traffic Accident Rehabilitation - Mary

Objective

Rehabilitation from injuries sustained in a road traffic accident.

Background

Last year, Mary sustained multiple injuries in a road traffic accident, leaving her with walking difficulties and other severe problems. Previously very active and leading a full life, Mary was intent on improving her physical condition as much as she possibly could.

As a former horse riding instructor, she had taken horses for hydrotherapy over 30 years ago, so already understood the benefits. She came to H2O Physio as she felt it would enhance her treatment plan, which included extensive physiotherapy and regular walking.

Programme

  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Water Temperature: 31˚C
  • Speed: starting at 0.3 and working up to 5.5kph
  • Depth: 1200mm, down to 1130mm
  • Resistance Jets: Not activated
  • Direction: Forwards
  • Number of Sessions: 22

Outcomes

Mary's hydrotherapy programme focused on retraining her gait to achieve a more natural walking pattern and also on building her muscle strength and stamina after losing a significant amount of fitness.

Starting at a slow speed with the water level high, this gave Mary plenty of support and the confidence to really push herself. The water provides the ideal environment for rehabilitation as balance can be maintained and weak limbs supported, while resistance increases the intensity of the exercise. Mary commented about the temperature being 'perfect' and from a therapy perspective, the constant 31˚C helps to relax muscles and relieve pain during training.

Also, when exercising, Mary mentioned that she experienced swelling in her right leg, at the hip, knee and ankle, but had noticed that it doesn't happen in the water – this is due to the hydrostatic forces applying pressure to the legs, encouraging circulation, and preventing excess fluid buildup.

In addition to walking in the treadmill, H2O Physio's Sports Therapist, Hannah, devised a series of personalised exercises, including leg raises with aquatic ankle weights to improve flexibility, range of movement and strengthen the muscles. The one-to-one approach enables constant goal-setting and an evolving programme that helps patients to recover much quicker.

Mary's progress continues but she has now gone from the constant use of two sticks down to one stick for longer walks, she no longer sleeps downstairs as she can cope with the stairs, and her mood has been boosted by her significant achievements. She, with husband and full-time carer, John, both came to us feeling very alone with this life-changing situation but reported that at H2O Physio they felt she was 'was not judged' and able to recover in a 'safe and welcoming' atmosphere.

Thoroughly enjoying her underwater treadmill sessions, Mary commented that this therapy has been a 'deal breaker' in her rehabilitation and 'the best thing she's ever done'. From 'the smile at reception' and 'the fantastic work that Hannah has done', to the 'lovely hot showers' after her sessions, she can't praise H2O Physio highly enough.

However, Mary doesn't just sit around waiting for her weekly underwater treadmill sessions, she walks regularly too. Totally committed to her recovery, she is working extremely hard to get her life back – the worn-out tread of her aqua shoes is testament to this.