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Physical Therapy Questions

Artista2011-12-09 04:17:47 +0000 #1
I finally got to start physical therapy for my broken ankle yesterday. The session began with a therapist who seemed highly qualified and genuinely interested in helping me to recover. He did a thorough evaluation and great lower leg massage. Then he turned me over to another employee for the exercise portion.

The second employee was really just a "station mover". He started by putting me on a stationary bike, told me to pedal for 10 minutes and then walked away. He returned 12 minutes later to move me to another station with a circular board, told me to rock my foot back and forth 20 times, and walked away again. This pattern was repeated for 45 minutes with the employee moving me from station to station, giving me brief instruction on each exercise, and then leaving.

I was totally bored the whole time. I watched as all of the other employees did the same thing with their patients - moved them to each station, told them what to do, and then left. Everyone in the room, patients and employees alike, seemed bored. There was no cheer, little eye contact, and virtually no talking.

Maybe I was expecting too much but I thought that the employees would stay with patients while they exercised to ensure proper form, prevent boredom, and serve as coaches and cheerleaders. I'm not sure that I want to do this for 2 hours a week for the next 2 months. Except for the massage and special compressive ice wrap, I can do all of this "therapy" at home.

What's your experience with physical therapy? Did I go into this expecting too much?


Eden2011-12-09 04:22:28 +0000 #2
Not the experience I have had. One of my teammates is a PT, so when I was having trouble with my knee this summer I went to her.

If you book an hour with her, you get her the whole time. Most of the session is devoted to evaluating and manipulating your problem area. At the end she has you do some exercises to show you how and sends you home with instructions and if you need them simple pieces of equipment (like I got a giant rubber band thingy...)
bmccasland2011-12-09 04:50:53 +0000 #3
I've been in two different clinics - generally the PT doesn't stay with you the entire time. Especially if that time is something like 10 minutes on a bike. They did stick with me on the various small exercises, such as flex and extend your foot 15 times, and all new exercises were supervised. A PT isn't your personal trainer, do you really need someone to sit with you for 10 minutes on a bike?

When you're doing specific exercises, and I've had lots of them for my knee, in one clinic the PT would get me started, then go on to the next client; I'd finish and he'd have me start something else. In the second clinic, the PT stayed with me for exercises and some wound area massage for 1/2 hour, then I was turned over to an aid to complete my work-out therapy. The first clinic was a bit more like a 3-ring circus, with banter between the clients/patients in the main gym. The PT was amazing that he kept up with all of us - but he also limited number of patients per hour. The second clinic had more therapists, and it was one-on-one until the end when I was turned over to an aid to complete my exercises and then they usually juggled a couple of us at a time. Once I completed one exercise, I generally knew what was next and would continue on without waiting for the aid.

Sometimes people are quiet because they're concentrating. What looks like an easy exercise for you isn't so easy if that's the body part that's being worked on.
Artista2011-12-09 05:20:22 +0000 #4
I agree that I don't need an employee to stay with me while I ride a stationary bike for 10 minutes but I would have felt better if he would have supervised my other exercises, especially since this was my first visit. I might have been less disappointed if the employees were working with multiple patients at a time but this didn't seem to be the case. The employees appeared to have ample time to spend with the patients but seemed to prefer the company of their coworkers while their patients performed the exercises.
jessmarimba2011-12-09 05:34:33 +0000 #5
I had a clinic set up like yours. They decided to supervise me doing the exercises about 4 weeks in after ignoring me the whole time, and then told me I was doing most of the exercises incorrectly. I didn't go back after that. At the time, I was going to help with posterior tibial tendonitis in both ankles.

(I was irritated enough when he made me run on the first day (at this point, I could barely walk without pain) and then claimed that I was obviously in pain because I ran like a cow. Sorry, sir, I'm running like a cow because this HURTS LIKE ****)

I don't mind if they walk away, even to see other patients (at my current PT, all of the appointments overlap) - but if they walk away to stand around and chat, at least watch me as you're doing nothing.
indysteel2011-12-09 05:23:02 +0000 #6
Quote:

Originally Posted by Eden

Not the experience I have had. One of my teammates is a PT, so when I was having trouble with my knee this summer I went to her.

If you book an hour with her, you get her the whole time. Most of the session is devoted to evaluating and manipulating your problem area. At the end she has you do some exercises to show you how and sends you home with instructions and if you need them simple pieces of equipment (like I got a giant rubber band thingy...)

This was my experience as well. I spent the entire hour with the PT. During that time, we mostly did exercises where he closely observed my form. The last 10 minutes or so was spent on a Wii Fit doing balance work.
ny biker2011-12-09 07:08:39 +0000 #7
When I went for PT for my knee, the therapist stayed with me for the first few sessions to make sure I was doing the exercises correctly. Then it changed so I was on my own, but everyone was all in one room so he could see me while he worked with another patient on the table, and could comment if I did something wrong.

Back in '93-'94 when I went for my ankle, the first PT I went to didn't help much. After a while my doctor said I wasn't making enough progress so he told me to go to a different PT, who was much better. I honestly don't remember details about how much supervision I had with each of them. But I did learn not to waste time with a PT that doesn't seem to be helping. Especially since insurance is much more limited for PT now than it was back then.
Trek4202011-12-09 06:29:57 +0000 #8
Quote:

Originally Posted by jessmarimba

(I was irritated enough when he made me run on the first day (at this point, I could barely walk without pain) and then claimed that I was obviously in pain because I ran like a cow. Sorry, sir, I'm running like a cow because this HURTS LIKE ****)

Actually cows run pretty well :

Video From YouTube:(link)

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