Podiatry ... and physical therapy?
We still sometimes get questions about that combo. Why those two specialties and not others? Do your PTs only work on feet?
As it turns out, we think podiatry and physical therapy go together like peanut butter and jelly—they’re a natural fit together, for reasons we’ll explain in a minute. (And yes, our physical therapists work the whole body, not just the feet and ankles!)
It’s About Whole Body Wellness
Here’s what really links the two disciplines.
See, many people put podiatry in a box as a specialty—we “just” deal with feet and ankles, just like a nephrologist “just” deals with your kidneys or an oncologist “just” deals with cancer. But that’s not how we see it at all.
Because here’s the thing: your feet are your foundation. Every part of your entire body rests upon them. Everything an otherwise able-bodied persons loves and needs to do—work, play, run, exercise, live life to the fullest—absolutely requires healthy, pain-free, and functioning feet.
When we treat your feet, we’re never treating “just” your feet. We are improving your whole body wellness—physically, mentally, emotionally. When we relieve pain or fix alignment issues in your feet, it can also relieve pain throughout the knees, hips, and back, too.
Physical therapy, then, is a natural way to enhance our treatment protocols even further. And our PT staff continues to grow—we’re excited to announce that we recently hired Tasha McElravy, DPT, who specializes in traditional and alternative treatments for a wide range of neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, and trauma-related conditions.
Benefits of Physical Therapy for Our Patients
You can think of a physical therapist as a “movement specialist.” In the broadest sense, the goal of physical therapy is to get your muscles, limbs, and joints moving and working as well as possible, focusing on decreasing pain, building strength, improving range of motion—whatever it takes.
As you might imagine, there is no shortage of situations where the assistance of a PT can make a major difference in your life.
One very common example here at Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates is post-surgical rehabilitation. Let’s say we’ve recently fixed your bunion or flat foot at our surgical center. You’re going to need at least a couple of weeks of immobilization and limited weight bearing to allow your foot time to heal—and in that time, you can’t really exercise or condition yourself as you normally would.
Therefore, it is critical that, once your doctor gives you the go-ahead, you rehabilitate the feet and ankles. You’ll need to restore strength and range of motion so that you can resume your previous activities while minimizing your risk of a post-surgical injury or complication. And there’s no better way to do this than under the expert care and guidance of a PT that works with foot and ankle surgical patients every day!
Sports injuries are another obvious application, for similar reasons. Even if you don’t need surgery for your ankle sprain or chronic heel pain, our physical therapists can provide treatments and guide you through exercises designed to help your body accelerate the healing process and make rehab faster and easier.
Our team specializes in physical therapy techniques and applications such as:
- MLS laser therapy. This cutting-edge device uses specific wavelengths of light energy targeted to reduce inflammation and edema, relieve pain, and accelerate natural tissue regeneration. It is FDA-cleared, completely safe with no known side effects, and amazingly effective—more than 75 percent of patients report significant improvement in symptoms after just a few brief treatments.
- Massage therapy. Massage can be a great way to relieve emotional stress, chronic musculoskeletal pain, even headaches and insomnia. Our on-staff licensed massage therapist has been practicing for 10 years and specializes in providing deep tissue treatment to areas of concern, in a relaxing and comfortable environment.
- Improving gait dysfunction. Our team has an advanced and sophisticated understanding of lower limb biomechanics—and how to help you improve them. Exercises to improve strength and flexibility, gait training, balance and coordination training, bracing, orthotics, and other techniques can help you achieve a more stable and steady gait, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.
- Visceral manipulation. In this gentle manual therapy, the PT feels the entire body (not just the primary site of discomfort) for locations where motion in the viscera (internal organs) has been altered or compromised. Often, these dysfunctions can actually cause pain elsewhere in the body, as other structures must compensate for these restricted movement patterns. Gentle compression and elongation of soft tissues is then used to alleviate the underlying problem.
So, wonder no longer why our practice combines podiatry, physical therapy, and even massage! We’re all motivated by the same goal, and we work together to achieve the best possible results for our patients.
To find out how we can help you with your pain, please call us at (360) 754-3338 today.