Two questions today, 1) STM and TKA 2) Clunking in the upper C-Spine...
Q: Is it appropriate to use STM who recently had a TKA?
A: Absolutely! Here are STM indications. 1) Limits in movement or pain during movement 2) The patient has tissues. While I wouldn't use it very aggressively, I have used both functional release and IASTM on a patient's quadriceps, hamstrings, and gastroc/soleus as soon as they come in for outpatient therapy. Manual therapy can be no more forceful than the WB ADLs or going "beyond" the physiologic range . Tissues are tissues and joints are joints. In any setting, you should notice better outcomes if you use OMPT plus exercise as most multi-modal studies show.
After being in outpatient and women's health, my wife started doing home care PT after becoming a mother. She used STM and joint mobilizations on her patients. It's not just for the outpatient orthopaedic setting. A local DPT/FAAOMPT Ortho instructor's response to his students who say "I don't want to do ortho," is, "EVERY patient is an orthopaedic patient."
While I don't see many TKAs, I saw two bilateral TKAs 2 years ago. They both got back to ROM WFL and to their ADLs with near full strength in just 12 visits.
Q: I have a patient who has very high upper cervical "clunking" every time she rotates to the right. She has history of head trauma, falling and hitting her head around the right temporal area. Her pain is right sided. The "clunk" occurs with each movement, and does not appear to be a cavitation or crepitus. What are my treatment options? I have performed unilateral OA gapping and started deep cervical flexor strengthening. She has severe forward head and unilateral HA. Is the "skull crusher" appropriate?
A: I would focus on light IASTM to her occiput and upper cervical musculature. Not being sure of her exact ranges, I would perform upper cervical stability tests. If negative, and if gentle Mulligan SNAGs reduce or eliminate the clunking, that suggests possible positional fault caused by unilaterally restricted tissues. Focus on restoring tissue mobility unilaterally and try the unilateral OA nod which can be aggressive, but is more comfortable if IASTM/STM is performed first. This is safe even in cases of transverse ligament laxity and works wonders on unilateral cervicogenic HA.
Keep the questions coming if you want this to be a regular blog topic!