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It was observed by Robert B. Salter, M.D. that immobilizing joints after an injury or surgery was unhealthy. With this observation Dr. Salter decided that if immobilization was unhealthy then intermittent movement post injury or surgery is healthier for joints and that continuous movement is better for the joint and for healing. To aid patients in moving there joints for hours at a time a machine was created to help them to move joints passively with no effort on the patient's part. These machines are called Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) Machines and many different types of CPM machines have been developed for the major joints of the body, such as shoulders, elbows, hands, wrists, knees and ankles.
CPM Machines have many benefits for post-surgical treatment such as promoting healing, regeneration of joint cartilage, the generation of blood flow and nutrition to injured sites while passively moving the joint. CPM also prevents stiffness, soreness, reduces pain and swelling, along with reducing scar tissue formation, increasing join range of motion and flexibility.
CPM therapy starts in the hospital and then the remainder of the therapy is done at home with CPM machine that can be rented. In total the CPM therapy lasts two to three weeks. Medicare and most private insurance companies will rent CPM machines postoperatively for total knee replacement and ACL repairs, while other types of surgery are covered on a case-by-case basis.
Tips for the best outcomes when using a CPM machine are:
- Use the CPM machine as much as possible during daytime hours.
- Use the CPM unit in a clean and dry place.
- When using a CPM machine for lower limbs, make sure it is firmly positioned on the bed or on the floor.
- The CPM machine settings should only be adjusted in accordance with the instructions provided by the doctor, therapist or provider.
- Do not allow children near the machine.
- Stop CPM treatment if unusual pain or discomfort occurs and immediately notify your doctor, therapist or provider.
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