This time of year is a time to be thankful. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: we’re thankful for our amazing staff! In a small effort to recognize them for their work, we ask staff monthly for nominations for Physical Therapist (PT) of the Month. The December PT of the Month is Erica Reali, of our Ahwatukee office.
This New York native knew from an early age that she wanted a career in medical field. Like many physical therapists, Erica was first introduced to and discovered the importance of physical therapy during her time as a young athlete. When thinking about her future medical career, she knew she “wanted something with some flexibility, with the care types, hours, and types of people I can work with. Physical therapy has the most flexibility and met the criteria I was looking for.”
Erica’s studies took her to Hunter College in New York. But, she had her sights set on Arizona even prior to graduation. She completed two internships in Arizona before entering the workforce as a licensed physical therapist. After graduation, she made the move official and has been in Arizona, expanding her 20 years of experience in physical therapy, ever since.
Eight years ago, we were lucky to have Erica join the Foothills Sports Medicine team. And, we have it on good authority that she likes us too.
“There are two best parts [of my job]. The first is the colleagues that I work with. Everyone is very dedicated to their work and they really just want the best for other people. The second part is being able to make the changes in other peoples’ lives to let them live fuller and richer lives,” says Erica.
In the next five years, Erica plans to continue to grow in the physical therapy field.
“Hopefully with more knowledge and more niches that I can really focus [and grow]. I have been interested in vestibular rehab here, as well as expanding my ortho base,” says Erica.
When asked about the most rewarding aspect of her job, Erica tells me, “any time that a patient tells me or shows me that I have made an impact in their lives, whether it’s emotionally or functionally. That is the most impactful and most rewarding.”
When she’s not making a difference in her patients’ lives she is spending time with her family — her husband and two kids, plus their dog Charlie — reading — “I like read a mix of books between self-help, satire, and fiction.” — and working out — “doing a variety cardio and lifting weights.” If you’re looking for a great vegetarian recipe, ask Erica. She is a vegetarian, so she often opts to make dinner at home.
If you’re searching for a physical therapist with a heart for helping, more than 20 years of experience, and maybe even a vegetarian recipe recommendation, Erica Reali is the PT for you! If the Ahwatukee location isn’t convenient, check out our other locations and we’ll match you with a physical therapist ready to help!