Thursday, June 10, 2010 - North Broward Medical Center Knee Replacement Patients Skateboarding Through Therapy

Deerfield Beach, FL - Patients undergoing total knee replacements at Broward Health North Broward Medical Center’s Joint Replacement Center are now doing more than just conventional range of motion exercises after surgery. Orlando Ruiz, DPT, lead physical therapist for the Joint Replacement Program, recently introduced the use of skateboards in the rehabilitation program.

“Knee replacement patients usually have a nerve block placed in the thigh to relieve post surgical pain,” says Ruiz. “They tend to experience quadriceps muscle weakness while the block is in place, often slowing their rehabilitation for the first couple of days.”

Ruiz, wanting to start the patient’s rehabilitation as soon as possible, started using skateboards the day after surgery. The patients, while seated in recliner chairs, place their foot on the skateboard and slowly move it back and forth. The movement engages the patients’ hamstring muscles, which are not affected by the nerve block, and gradually engages the quadriceps muscles. The exercise provides the benefits of muscle use, range of motion in both flexion and extension, and proprioceptive stimulus from a weight bearing exercise. All patients who used the skateboards obtained knee flexion of 90 degrees or better by the second day post surgery.

“The results have been fantastic,” says Lynn Cleveland, Joint Care Coordinator. “The patient’s perception is that they are actively rather than passively moving their knee joint, which is very encouraging. Plus the skateboards make the rehabilitation process interesting and more importantly, fun!”

The Joint Replacement Center at North Broward Medical Center features private patient rooms, family centered patient education, group therapy and the latest advances in joint replacement surgery. The center is certified by the Joint Commission for hip and knee replacement, the first and only hospital in Broward County to achieve this prestigious certification.  To earn this distinction, the program underwent extensive, announced, on-site evaluations by a team of Joint Commission reviewers. The program was evaluated for its processes, the ability to evaluate and improve care and thorough interviews with patients and staff.

The Joint Replacement Center team includes highly trained orthopedic surgeons, a medical director, anesthesiologists, pharmacists, nurses and patient care technicians, a clinical nurse specialist, physical therapists/aides, orthopedic technicians, nutritionists, surgical and perioperative team members, case managers and a program coordinator. The staff works with patients in a structured recovery program, including pre-operative and post-operative patient education, with an emphasis on pain control. There is also individual physical therapy with the inclusion of “coaches” in the patients’ daily routines.

All skateboards were donated by hospital employees.

Broward Health, providing service for more than 50 years, is a nationally recognized system offering world class health care services to our neighbors in South Florida. One of the 10 largest public health systems in the nation, Broward Health includes Broward General Medical Center, North Broward Medical Center, Imperial Point Medical Center, Coral Springs Medical Center, Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, Broward Health Weston and more than 30 facilities of the Community Health Services and Broward Health Physician Group. For more information visit

Knee replacement patient Steven Brown skateboarding to recovery.