More and more patients are turning to CPM machines to facilitate the most effective and efficient recovery from joint injuries and surgeries. It is proven effective for increasing range of motion and joint stiffness, but only when used following safe operating procedures designated by the machine and by the instruction of experienced doctors and healthcare professionals. 

Before beginning to use a CPM machine on yourself or others, knowing the best way to maintain safety is critical so that what is meant for recovery is not damaged. Here are Medcom Group’s safety tips for correct CPM operation. 

What is a CPM Machine? 

A continuous passive motion (CPM) machine is a motorized, electric-powered device that passively moves a joint through a pre-set range of motion. It is used during care at a rehabilitation facility or in the comfort of a patient’s home. Joints can get stiff after an injury or surgical operation, especially if a patient is immobile. The most effective and efficient path toward any joint recovery is maintaining as much mobility as possible; however, this is often difficult because patients also experience a great deal of pain and physical lethargy, making mobility infrequent and undesirable. 

Fortunately, CPM machines help facilitate joint movement without requiring any active input or effort by the individual seeking recovery help. There are many different types of CPM machines, each targeting different joints. They have primarily been used to help knee mobility but can also help an individual’s shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, and ankle. 

There are many benefits to using a CPM machine, including: 

Importance of CPM Machine Safety 

It goes without saying that the proper use of medical devices is paramount to the safety and recovery of a patient. Even though CPM machines come with many benefits for a patient, such as accelerating their recovery and reducing pain and stiffness, they come with potential risks and limitations that could reverse the helpful effects into ones that hinder them instead. 

Incorrect use of a CPM machine can slow down recovery or even, in the worst case, damage your tendons, joints, muscles, and other healing body parts after an injury or surgery. It is critical only to use a CPM machine as your doctor or healthcare professional prescribes. 

CPM Machine Safety Tips 

1. Follow the Directions Given By Your Doctor 

Your doctor or healthcare professional who prescribes therapeutic recovery with a CPM machine should provide instructions on its optimal use. Following their directions will ensure your recovery is as efficient as possible while maintaining your safety. 

2. Follow the Assembly and Operating Instructions

Your CPM machine will have directions to assemble and operate the device correctly. While they may seem mundane, these are critical to follow so that you can be sure that the machine operates as your doctor or healthcare provider intends.

3. Do Not Use With Other Medical Conditions

Using a machine while also dealing with other medical complications can create further issues for your joint injury. The other medical complications may also become more severe as a result. Avoid using a CPM machine if there is also uncontrolled bleeding, unstable bone fractures, injured tendons or ligaments, or any infections at the surgical site. Individuals who struggle with sensory deficiencies or are unable to communicate their discomfort or pain during the machine’s operation should only use a CPM machine with great caution and the direct assistance of a medical professional. 

4. Begin Slowly

Using a CPM machine should begin slowly, easing into this therapeutic method rather than exerting a weak joint to extreme speeds, angles, or durations. By starting slowly, a limb can get accustomed to the motion, allowing the user to increase the range of motion gradually. 

5. Good Operating Environment

Only use CPM machines on a firm, flat surface. Keep hair, clothing, fingers, and other loose objects away from moving parts of the machine. Furthermore, ensure that any liquids, such as water, are not in the vicinity of the machine/ have the potential to spill on the machine. Other hazards such as fire (open flame, cigarette, lighter) should also be kept away from the CPM machine. 

6. Keep the CPM Machine Stable

You can position your CPM machine in such a way that helps prevent it from moving during operation, such as placing it up against heavy objects like a headboard. Secure the power chord underneath the bed or in a way that helps prevent people from tripping and falling. 

7. Read More Helpful Material

Read our tips on how to get the most out of your CPM machine and how to optimize recovery time before getting started.

How to Use a CPM Machine

Every CPM machine will vary on how best to operate it depending on the type and manufacturer of the device. Generally speaking, a patient should first secure their limb and joint firmly but comfortably into the device - the entire limb is normally in the device, with a hinge for movement placed underneath the joint. 

Follow the motion parameters as prescribed by your doctor or healthcare provider - input the correct speed, angle, and duration (may require the help of a nurse or another individual). Remember to ease into this therapeutic method, but once the CPM machine is set to the designated settings, all that is left to do is turn on the device! 

Bottom Line: Safe Recovery is Effective Recovery

CPM machines are an excellent resource for immobile patients seeking help maintaining their range of motion and reducing stiffness. However, these medical devices should always be used with safety first in mind - consult your doctor or healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns about your recovery plan, and contact the experts at Medcom Group to source your equipment or ask any questions about operating a machine! 


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