By Michael Basten, PT, DPT
President/CEO of Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy

“Good Enough” Means You Won’t Spend Enough Time to Fully Rehabilitate Your Injury

When it comes to physical mobility, are you prepared to settle for a good enough solution? That may work when you are making small decisions, like picking which size band-aid, but when it is your mobility that is on the line you need to have a full recovery focus. This is an extreme example, but the fact remains: if you settle for good enough, you will never do everything you want to do.

When it comes to your physical health and pain-free mobility, full injury recovery should be the target. It is easy to be drawn to the first solution that provides more comfort and functionality than you have today—even if it only offers a marginal improvement. We call this solution good enough. True, this solution will provide basic functionality, but it can also cause doubt and certainly will not help you achieve the best result. When having a full recovery focus you shouldn’t feel:

  • Worried about your recovery
  • Overwhelmed
  • Frustrated
  • Skeptical
  • Stressed (physical, financial, emotional, or mental)

Seeking full recovery is a journey with no shortcuts and no finish line. A journey that will lead to amazing and fulfilling results. At Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy our therapists embrace the journey. We understand that good enough is a dangerous stopping point… to aim for good enough is to end up incredibly mediocre… also keep in mind that good enough is only good enough for so long.

What is a Full Recovery Focus™?

A Foothills therapist will take you, your pain, and your full recovery seriously. We don’t believe a good enough recovery is good enough. In fact, no one deserves just a good enough recovery, no matter what their situation may be, our goal is to do everything we can to help you get your full, healthy life back. Our Full Recovery Focus™ difference is evident from your very first visit. Your enthusiastic and committed therapist takes you, your pain, and your situation seriously as you discuss what full recovery looks like. Together you will map out a hands-on customized plan to get you there. Your therapist will work to prevent unnecessary diagnostics in your recovery that can increase out of pocket costs and impact your long-term well-being. Our therapists can work with your doctor to explore pre-surgery, post-surgery, and no-surgery options for your full recovery.

Pre-Surgery, Post-surgery & No surgery

We know a full recovery starts before your surgery even happens. That’s why we’re with you from the beginning to the end. You can book an appointment without needing a referral from your doctor, and we can work with your doctors to develop a pre-surgery and a post-surgery plan. If it is possible, we will help you avoid surgery altogether. Our goal is always your full recovery.

Locally Trusted & Convenient

No one likes being in pain longer than they have to. With dozens of locations in Phoenix, you can get in to see your therapist quickly. You will never wait longer than 48 hours after booking your appointment. That’s why we’re the physical therapy organization local Arizonans have trusted for over 20 years. We have helped more than 500,000 patients get out of pain and back to doing the things they love. Your recovery sessions will be planned out so that you move through your recovery as soon as possible and get back to feeling like yourself and enjoying your life again.  And you won’t need to worry about insurance. We accept most major insurance carriers, including competitive cash pay options.

Get rid of crippling pain and enjoy full rehabilitation from your injury. 

We don’t give up on our patients once their recovery reaches “acceptable,” whatever that might mean. We make every effort to steer our patients away from a good enough recovery and guide them on their journey to full recovery.

Schedule an appointment today.

We’ve all been there.

That nagging low back pain by your waistline burning into your upper buttock area. We go to bed at night with Advil, Aleve or Tylenol, we get an “ok” night’s sleep and wake up the next morning hoping that the back pain is gone. The first move, a guarded roll to our side, no pain, so far so good. Then a “core stabilized” side-lying to sit move just like the therapist taught. Maybe this is the day. And then you stand and – POW – that dang low back pain is still there! Now the second-guessing and questions: we are doing everything everybody is telling us, we went to therapy three times last week, we followed our doctor’s orders, we are walking more, we are losing weight, we are watching our body mechanics, we take frequent breaks from sitting, we stopped heavy lifting, we are swinging the golf club easier, we stopped taking prescription pain pills and the pain is still there. As a physical therapist who suffers from back pain, this pain sucks!

Maybe you had surgery and still have lower back pain?

If you have severe back pain, chances are you might have had an epidural or spoke to someone about getting one. You may have been to therapy a dozen times, twice in two years and there is still a little pain. Maybe you’ve lost hope. Is there any cure for this nagging injury?

Here is my story.

In 2015 I was training for a ½ marathon, running daily through a little bit of low back pain over the final few weeks. I ran and had a personal record of course, it was my 1st race. The next day I was bent over fixing a sprinkler in my backyard. I had been on my knees, bent forward for about 20 minutes when I went to stand up and BANG! A hot poker in the right side of my lower back. Hot, burning, stabbing and shooting pain that just dropped me back down onto my stomach in the middle of the yard. After the initial symptoms, I was laughing because I knew exactly what I had done. The tingling in the numbness started into my 4th and 5th toes of my right foot and the pain was so intense that I could just laugh. My wife and kids were gone for the day, no cell phone, stuck face-down in a sprinkler-soaked part of the yard with my golden retriever licking my face. What the heck am I going to do?

After 15-20 minutes the 10/10 pain was down 8/10, moveable and no ambulance needed. Then my PT brain kicked in and I knew I had to regain a neutral to slightly extended lumbar spine as soon as possible. This technique is 1 to 4 approaches in the McKenzie Method and emphasizes getting into a neutral position quickly to allow for more controlled healing in what I suspected as a disc derangement issue. Once I got to tall kneeling, I crawled up the wall to standing. I went inside, took some medication and remained standing. Lying down on my back with my feet up ( which is what we all want to do) can be one of the worst things to do for a suspected disc type injury. Lying on the stomach, in neutral with slight extension for short amounts of time is recommended. I also remembered no bending, lifting, carrying, reaching or long term sitting for up to 7 to 10 days. This was the immediate first aid 101 and 2nd victory.

So now what? Knowledge.

After my MRI and consulting with a trusted colleague, we received the diagnosis: congenital foraminal stenosis with a moderate disc herniation on the right side at L4/5. What in the world is that? As a PT, I have seen this diagnosis on paperwork and never wanted to see my name attached to is as my diagnosis. My central canal where the spinal cord goes is smaller than it should be for a guy my size. I have a medium disc herniation that’s blocking the side opening of the spine where the nerves go out to my leg.

If you have an MRI that you don’t understand, then chat with your local PT and get an explanation that makes sense to you. Medical jargon is for medical professionals, not patients, and I believe that PTs have the education, time and ability to convey and convert the medical diagnosis into “normal jargon.”

Commit to Treatment.

For me, it was physical therapy (it better be, I am a physical therapist), epidurals, reduction in heavy lifting and impact activities (running) and I stopped golfing for a short period of time. For medication, Advil/Aleve and patience was key. If you want to get better faster, consistency is key.

Think of the tissue in your lumbar spine as  ligaments around an ankle. Ankle sprains hurt, they swell, they turn black and blue and we can’t walk on them right away, sometimes for weeks. Why do we expect more from the spine? Injuries to the spine are painful, it swells, tissues may not turn black and blue, but tissues do tear and bleed and we can’t walk. So now we have reduced this terrible, miserable, debilitating back pain to a common grade three ankle sprain.

Understanding.

Should we expect to go running on a severely sprained ankle in just a couple of weeks? A bad ankle sprain could require surgery, but most require a commitment to a 3-6 month regiment of First Aid, early conservative movements, progressive strengthening and conditioning, and a slow return to stressful activities. Of course, there are more serious injuries that can occur in the lumbar spine that will require more time, treatment and/or surgery and can be debilitating, but let’s assume that common things happen commonly and keep the focus on that annoying, but functional lower back pain.

Its been 4-years, what are my symptoms today? I still have local daily low back pain. At best, I have days with no lower back pain. At worse, it’s a 2-3/10. If I do stressful activities, it’s a little worse. If I follow all the rules and my home program, it’s better. I chose not to do surgery although it was suggested. I actively manage it every day. I understand the limitations and I choose to be active with some discomfort. Where is your mindset? What help do you need? Do you have a plan?

Get with an experienced local PT and find the answers that fit you and your lifestyle the best. Know that your small victories are important, and you too can BEAT lower back pain today! Come into a Foothills location near you!

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17, and while the tried and true tradition of grilling and relaxing at home is a great way to celebrate, our Arizona sports medicine practice recommends keeping the whole family healthy by getting active. Spend the day doing a fun family activity and after you can reward yourself with your hamburger if you really want it.

Visit the Park for a Competitive Game
In Phoenix, there are many parks with tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts. Grab the family and head to a local spot to play, and don’t forget to keep score.

Get on the Water
An hour or two on a kayak or paddleboard on Tempe Town Lake offers a great arm work out and an easy way to create Father’s Day memories. Other nearby options include Saguaro Lake, Canyon Lake, and Lower Salt River.

Nerf Gun Fight
Make your backyard or inside your home a battle zone. Duke it out with a Nerf gun fight. After a little while, simply shooting at each other can get old. To keep things interesting by incorporating some fun games. Just make sure you place fragile items in a safe spot before you fire the first shot.

Pool Time
For a fun way to stay cool and be active, hit the pool. Swimming is a great cardio option that is easy on the joints. Keep the whole family entertained and moving by playing some kid-friendly pool games.

If you want to up the ante, consider a family trip to nearby Big Surf Waterpark. The family can hang ten as you work your core to balance on a surfboard at their wave pool.

Rock Climbing
For a fun body-weight exercise that increases your agility and allows you to flex your mental muscles, take a trip to an indoor rock climbing gym. We’re fortunate to have many great options in the Valley: Phoenix Rock Gym in Tempe, Black Rock Bouldering Gym in Phoenix, Focus Climbing Center in Mesa, and AZ on the Rocks in Scottsdale are just some of the options. Gravity Extreme Zone in Chandler also has trampolines, virtual reality, a rope course, and more.

Biking
Dust off your bikes and either go to Papago Park or meander around your neighborhood. If you have a spot to grab ice cream nearby, let that be the destination and treat yourself to an icy sweet before heading back home.

Get Out in Nature
Living in Phoenix, we have no shortage of hiking trails. Of course, in the summer, it’s recommended to go hiking in the early morning hours or night to avoid the heat.

Nearby family-friendly trails include Hieroglyphic Trail in the Superstition Wilderness, Dreamy Draw Loop Trail, and North Mountain National Trail — one of the paths is paved if you have little ones that require a stroller — at Phoenix Mountain Preserve, and Gateway Loop Trail at McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

Hole in One
Last, but not least, if dad is a golf fan, the summer pricing is here. Take advantage of the low prices at our world-class courses. Just make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.

Of course, make sure you’re considering dad and what he would like best. We hope these ideas help your family have a fun, energy-filled day. If dad is having to stay away from the activities he loves because of pain, make an appointment for him with one of our Arizona sports medicine locations.

At times, braces are prescribed by physicians to support a specific joint. They are usually recommended for injury recovery or post-surgery to assist with healing, along with specific instructions for proper use. It is important to note that the goal is gradual weaning off of the brace and a returning to normal function.

However, in this blog I want to focus on the braces people purchase over the counter and use for joint pain. They include hand, wrist, elbow, knee, ankle, and postural bracing for your back. These braces can be both costly and very inexpensive. If the only goal is temporary pain relief, these assistive devices can help in that regard. But, they can also cause adverse effects on the injured body part and make the problem worse with time. For this reason, the permanent use of a brace is a poor solution when compared to the long-term success and permanence of physical therapy. Additionally, braces can be bulky, very hot, and uncomfortable to wear in the Arizona summer heat.

Braces can be somewhat effective for temporary use during injury recovery. However, because they are doing the work of both small and large muscles, prolonged use is problematic. This is because the brace becomes the main support system for the injured joint instead of your own muscles. While the layperson tends to focus on the joint itself, the surrounding muscles are very important in joint function and play a significant role in the overall function of the skeletal system. When muscles become weak (as they can do when braces are used long-term), decreased joint stabilization occurs. This is due to the brace taking over the job for muscles and could eventually result in a reduction of functional movement, increased joint tightness, and, in some cases, a worsening pain cycle.

From a therapeutic perspective, your therapist doesn’t want you to become reliant on a brace in order to complete everyday tasks or to enjoy your favorite hobbies and weekend events. In most cases, a specific strengthening and mobility protocol can help reduce pain while eliminating the reliance on a brace during injury recovery. Break the brace-reliance pain cycle and make an appointment today to speak with a physical therapist about how you can begin the process of performing at your best without a brace.

You’ve caught the eye of the HR Director and you’ve landed an interview with a physical therapy clinic—congrats! Chances are you’ll be competing against a handful of other applicants, so you’ll need to set yourself apart during your interview. We’re sharing 3 tips to help you prepare for going from new grad to new physical therapist.

Arrive Early
Allowing yourself some “breathing room” upon arrival is key. This allows you to get acclimated to the environment, watch the flow of the clinic, and most importantly, review your notes before the interview.

Know Your Pitch
Although you’re not a sales associate, it’s important to know how to promote yourself and your abilities. Have talking points on your background, education, experience and WHY you’re the right physical therapist to join the team.

Research the Company
It’s not only an interview for the Clinic Partner, but consider yourself interviewing the company as well. You’ll want to make sure it’s a great fit—so take time beforehand to research the clinic online. Diving into their website, company culture and social media will help determine if it’s going to be a nice fit. And having some company knowledge in your back pocket will help impress the Clinic Partner.

As always, practicing your interview skills will help build your confidence and perfect your interview habits. Do you think you’ve found your fit at Foothills? Visit our Careers page to apply today!

Wellness is more of a healthy lifestyle, rather than the absence of disease. Complete wellness includes important aspects such as mental and emotional health as well as physical fitness. Significant contributors to wellness include exercise and proper nutrition. Incorporating personal goals into each of these areas is highly beneficial in both the short and long-term. Here are the ways that these two aspects influence your personal wellness and contribute to an overall healthier lifestyle.

Exercise therapy helps with weight maintenance and weight loss, while decreasing the chances of developing conditions like Type II Diabetes. Studies show that individuals who exercise regularly have a decreased risk of developing colon and breast cancer. New research proposes that this may also extend to lung and endometrial cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend 150 minutes (2.5 hours) or more of moderate aerobic exercise per week to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The benefits don’t stop there. In fact, research has shown that individuals who exercise regularly have a greater ability to manage arthritic pain and are less likely to suffer hip fractures. Achieving fitness can be a challenge, but in doing so you are more likely to live a longer, happier life.

While exercise is an important step on the road to wellness, you’ll need enough energy to perform it regularly. Our bodies rely on the nutrients we consume to fuel our movement and keep our internal body systems such as the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems functioning. Proper nutrition can enhance your immune system, making you less susceptible to illnesses like routine colds. It can also inhibit chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, depression, and heart disease from developing. Consuming healthy food in appropriate amounts can have many benefits such as a sharpened memory, improved mood, and weight maintenance. Nutrition is all about understanding that what you put into your body has a direct effect on your overall wellness.

Regular exercise and eating a healthy diet contributes to a healthy lifestyle, but here are a few other suggestions that also help in achieving wellness:

  • Get a good night’s sleep of 7-8 hours per night.
  • Spend quality time with family, friends, and even pets.
  • Try meditating or writing in a journal to relieve stress.
  • Establish an individualized eating plan with a nutritionist.

Creating and achieving goals will help you to be successful on your path toward complete wellness. What’s most important is that wellness is different for everyone, so choose goals that are interesting to you and just do it!

For more information and tips on exercise therapy, feel free to reach out to your local Foothills Sports Medicine clinic.

 

This January 30th through February 5th, over half a million golf fans will flock to TPC Scottsdale to cheer on their favorite players at the 82nd annual Waste Management Open. On the course will be some of the biggest names in golf including Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, and defending champion Hideki Matsuyama—all competing for a $1,206,000 first place check.

While most mere mortals can never hope to play at the same caliber as these golfers, many golf enthusiasts will continue to give their all to the fickle sport until they are no longer able. To excel in the game of golf today takes skill, technique, a bit of luck, and athleticism. It doesn’t matter how incredible your technical game is if you don’t have the strength and flexibility to drive the ball down the fairway. Without proper conditioning, you can increase your chances of injury and the need for pain management down the road.

It may seem like an easy enough sport, but golf injuries are common. Back pain from hunching and rotational stress, shoulder pain and rotator cuff issues, “tennis elbow,” or irritation from inflammation of the elbow’s inner tendon, and knee pain from stabilizing and hip rotation during a swing are all very common ailments that accompany the game.

Golfers can work on the strength and flexibility needed with these easy exercises*:

*Please consult your doctor or physical therapy specialist before starting any kind of exercise routine.

Planks

Core muscles affect most movement as well as arm and leg function, so in golf it’s immensely important to have a strong and flexible core. Planking is a great static exercise that can be done anywhere to strengthen the core. To complete a plank, position your body like you’re about to do a push-up, then bend your elbows so your weight is on your forearms with feet together and pelvis down. Your body and back should be flat and in line. If done correctly, your abdominal muscles should feel engaged. Hold this position for 30 seconds or as long as possible, then repeat three times.

Standing Wood Chop

This exercise simulates chopping wood, which is similar in movement to a golf swing and is good for working on torque and flexibility. It can be done using a dumbbell, medicine ball, or on a cable machine. At the down stance, your hands should be positioned by your alternate knee. Lift the weight or cable above your head in one direction, keep your arms straight while rotating the weight up toward the opposite side of your body, bending slightly at the knees. Complete a set of 12 going one direction, then alternate sides. Complete three sets per side.

Dumbbell Raises/ Rotator Cuff Exercises

To avoid rotator cuff tears that could take you away from the game and leave you in need of pain management, incorporate strengthening exercises into your routine. Standing upright and hold light weights in each of your hands. Keeping both arms straight, lift them out in front of you. The weights should be vertical and your knuckles facing outward. Hold for a few seconds, then return your arms to your side. Complete 10 times per set for three sets. Click here for more in-depth information about rotator cuff tears and strengthening exercises.

Lateral Lunges

Lateral lunges improve the range of motion in your hips, which is necessary for a good golf swing. These lunges require no equipment and can be done anywhere. Start standing upright and take a large step to one side, focusing your body weight to that side. Your knee should be bent on the side you stepped to and your other leg should be extended out with your toes pointing forward. Push back up to standing position to complete one. Repeat 10-12 times per set, then alternate sides. Complete three sets per side.

For more information on physical therapy, preventative exercises, or tips on pain management to improve your golf swing, please contact your local Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy clinic.

In the New Year, I, along with many others, partake in the tradition of resolutions; I try to push myself to be better with my health, personal, family, and career goals. I recently started reading The Impact Body Plan by Todd Durkin, M.A., C.S.C.S. This book explores many fitness myths that are often used as excuses to not reach certain fitness goal. Our main goal at Foothills Sports Medicine is to get our patients healthy enough to return to the activities they love, but we often find excuses to avoid caring for ourselves. Let’s tackle some of these myths or excuses and make 2017 the year we all focus on our goals. 

MYTH 1: “Aches and pains are expected with exercise.”

This is absolutely not the case. Muscle soreness is often expected after workouts, but pain or discomfort in your back, knees, or ankles is never normal. It is important to understand the difference between muscle soreness and pain in the muscles and joints. Muscle soreness can often feel dull, tight, or you may feel fatigued, whereas pain can be sharp and often lingering with no relief. Aches and pains often arise when you are not taking care of your body properly. Exercise should not be a negative experience for you, it should be a time you enjoy and are focused on yourself and reaching your goals.

MYTH 2: “The longer my workout, the more beneficial it is.”

Time is often one of the biggest excuses people use to not be active. Working out does not have to consume your entire day, or even a whole hour. The American Heart Association suggests only 30 minutes a day for five days a week. Let’s put that into perspective: studies have recently shown that the average person spends about 90 minutes on their phone a day, leading up to about 23 days a year and about 3.9 years of an average person’s life. You can incorporate this activity into your daily routine by going for a walk at lunch, parking farther away from your office, or even taking the stairs multiple times throughout the day. Be smart with your activity, work hard while you are training, and always put your best effort into your workouts and you will not have to spend hours at the gym.

MYTH 3: “I’ll never be flexible—my muscles have been tight all my life.”

Muscles can be trained. Being inflexible stems from not training your muscles in the correct way. Whether you don’t exercise consistently or exercise incorrectly, both can cause imbalances in the muscles. Our body is a machine that needs every single part to work together properly to function at its fullest potential. When we have imbalances in our body, it will find ways to compensate creating restrictions. Incorporate a foam roll session into your daily routine to promote the tissues’ ability to return to a relaxed state.

MYTH 4: “If I’m not sore or in pain, I’m not working out hard enough.”

Do not make soreness your priority. There are many factors that contribute to being sore including, but not limited to, type of exercise, amount of reps, and the weights being used. Try to use other tangible measures to verify for yourself that you are working hard, i.e. your progress from session to session. Are you able to complete more this time? What is your fatigue level in comparison? Use your feelings after a workout. How is your stress level? Are you feeling happy?

If you have any questions about what you may be feeling during your workouts or other activities, schedule a visit to one of our many locations for a Rapid Recovery Injury Assessment.

 

Friends, coworkers, family members – how many of them have told you about their new fitness goal of walking 10,000 steps a day? These days, most step counters or fitness apps suggest by default that you set your daily goal to at least 10,000 steps. However, opinions on whether or not reaching 10,000 steps per day is actually effective, or even helpful, are mixed. So, should you care about the number of steps you take in a day? The answer is: sort of.

The origin of this figure actually dates back to the 1960s, when Japan hosted the Olympics. As CNN recently reported, the public’s focus on exercise was heightened during the games and it was then that researchers determined that men should burn at least 2,000 calories a week, which breaks down to 300 calories a day. This goal can be achieved by walking approximately (you guessed it) 10,000 steps.

Fitness apps and trackers enjoy this somewhat arbitrary number because it’s easy to advertise, and their marketing campaigns have obviously worked. The 10,000 steps phenomenon is now becoming ubiquitous, but the benefits to getting out and walking more is often overshadowed by this goal.

The average American walks only 5,000 steps a day (Business Insider), and the most sedentary group walks much less than that. Living a sedentary lifestyle puts you at risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, joint damage, and many other problems (Mayo Clinic). Provided this information, it can be assumed that increasing your step count would be a great step in the right direction for people who aren’t getting the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week. However, walking is obviously not the only way to exercise, and if you do strength training or ride a bike every day, you might be in great shape despite having a low step count.

In addition to getting more exercise, there is another compelling reason to start being more aware of your steps, and it has to do with sitting. If you are trying to increase your step count by walking more, you will most likely sit less, which could save your life. One study showed that people who sit in front of the TV for over four hours have a 125% greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who watch TV for less than 2 hours a day, and a 50% higher risk of death from any cause (Mayo Clinic). Researchers are starting to believe that sitting can be deadly, so keeping track of your steps could be a great incentive to get moving.

While 10,000 steps a day might not be the right amount for you, there are huge benefits to trying to live a healthier, more active lifestyle. Our Foothills Sports Medicine experts aim to keep you active and doing the things that you love. For more advice and information about reaching your daily fitness goals, check out our blog!

Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy approaches patient treatment with a hands-on approach and cutting edge techniques. Each of our passionate, dedicated, and talented physical therapists contributes to our continued success.

Every month, we highlight an individual therapist’s exceptional contribution to the Foothills Sports Medicine community; this month we spoke with Jennifer Hallquist.

A true Arizonian, Jennifer was born in Phoenix under unique circumstances. She was delivered in her family home, by her father! With six children between them, her parents decided they were seasoned veterans of the birthing process. After delivery, mother and baby were taken to John C. Lincoln Hospital to have the umbilical cord cut. They created quite a stir with their story, and ever since then Jennifer has been ready to take on the world.

Jennifer is a physical therapist at Foothills Sports Medicine’s Biltmore location where she’s worked for five years. She graduated from AT Still University in 2001 with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, after receiving a BS in Corporate Fitness and Wellness and Athletic Training from Grand Canyon University. Since then, she has upheld Foothills Sports Medicine’s focus on growth and continued education by attending courses at the Institute of Physical Arts and The Barral Institute, while also taking several dry needling courses through Kineticore and SDN with Sue Falsone. Her love for learning is one of the many values Jennifer shares with Foothills Sports Medicine. She works to continually further her knowledge of the human body and stay on top of new techniques and innovative treatments.

When it comes to why she chose her career, Jennifer says that life as a physical therapist actually chose her! As a senior at Central High School, she fell while practicing a gymnastics routine and suffered a compression fracture of T12. This was her first experience with physical therapy and it made a lasting impression. After high school, she became a live-in nanny for a family who opened her eyes to the possibilities of higher education and a career in healthcare. Jennifer was close with the family and the mother, an orthopedic surgeon, was influential in directing her towards physical therapy. While still a nanny, Jennifer began shadowing and volunteering at physical therapy offices, taking courses at a community college at night. She soon became a full-time student and physical therapy tech working toward her goal of becoming a physical therapist.

Jennifer’s enthusiasm for what she does is contagious. When asked what she likes best about her work, she responded, “I am so blessed that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE being a physical therapist! It is such a rush when I connect with people and am a catalyst for positive life change.” To aspiring physical therapists, she says, “Spend as much time volunteering or shadowing other physical therapists in the different fields of physical therapy as you can.” One thing she stresses is how diverse the field of physical therapy is; “Being a physical therapist requires the ability to do MANY things all at once.” To Jennifer, being a PT requires focus and confidence. She believes every physical therapist needs to possess or develop leadership qualities with a high level of transparency, integrity, inspiration, passion, innovation and, most importantly, patience.

If you’re looking for a physical therapist with all of these qualities, look no further than your local Foothills Sports Medicine clinic. For a free assessment with one of our PT’s, fill out our appointment request form! Check out the Foothills blog for more information about physical therapy in Arizona.