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Physical therapy advice for a newbie

romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes 34203 replies770 threads Senior Member
I have had chronic knee problems since I was young (both knees but one is worse than the other). I injured it a few times and was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter Disease in my early teens. That's pretty typical for young people, especially tall young people, who play sports (and I was a multi sport athlete as well as a dancer). I was told I'd grow out of it but now in my 20s, the pain is getting worse.

My new-ish PCP finally referred me to physical therapy and was kind of flabbergasted when I told her I'd never been sent to PT despite my repeated injuries.

Anyway, because it's my first time I'm not sure how to tell who is a "good" physical therapist. What are some tips or things I should look for? (My dad's former PT retired and I don't know anyone else in the area who has needed PT so I can't ask for local recommendations.)

Any advice is welcomed :)
23 replies
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Replies to: Physical therapy advice for a newbie

  • carolinamom2boyscarolinamom2boys 6900 replies224 threads Senior Member
    Is there a local PT school close to you?
    The department faculty may be able to point you in the right direction because they have to set up internships for their students.
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  • rosered55rosered55 4740 replies124 threads Senior Member
    I have no advice but I wish you good luck. Physical therapy has been a big help for several people I know.
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  • audiophileaudiophile 2486 replies133 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2015
    Why don't you ask your PCP who she would recommend?
    edited December 2015
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  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes 34203 replies770 threads Senior Member
    @audiophile I did. She gave me a list of local places and wasn't very helpful on that front.

    @carolinamom2boys I'm not sure but I'll look into that, thanks!
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  • MagnetronMagnetron 2664 replies5 threads Senior Member
    It's a bit like finding a PCP - you have to click with their style and feel like you are well cared for. Knee issues are common and most would have the knowledge for your treatment.

    I had similar knee issues in HS, to the point I got a prescription to use the freight elevator instead of the stairs. Then I really banged up my right knee in a car crash. PT helped a ton. Cycling and proprioceptive exercises also really helped.
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  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes 34203 replies770 threads Senior Member
    Thanks, magnetron, that's good to know.

    Yes, my issue is luckily very common.
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  • carolinamom2boyscarolinamom2boys 6900 replies224 threads Senior Member
    Another option is if you have a professional sports team in your area that would typically sustain knee injuries i.e. Soccer, football etc you may be able to see who treats their athletes .
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  • conmamaconmama 4931 replies347 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2015
    Or even call the high school in your area and ask them!
    edited December 2015
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 40937 replies477 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2015
    What ohers said - you need a PT who treats the active bunch. Check PT profiles online. You would want someone passionate about the activities you are passionate about. The PT who helped me with my knee was a marathoner - she put a lot of effort into fixing my gait and strengthening the right muscles. Good luck. It is a slow process, but the result would be well worth it.
    edited December 2015
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  • MassmommMassmomm 4206 replies85 threads Senior Member
    The best PTs I have had have all been athletes themselves. They get it, and they understand your goal is to resume your sports, not just haul your groceries up to the kitchen. And I heartily agree with the hands on recommendation. They should be massaging, manipulating, using electrical stimulation or other appropriate modalities, not just turning you loose with the bands or weights (although those are important, too.)

    And a good PT should "fire" you when you have made sufficient progress or when PT is not working for you.
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  • zeebamomzeebamom 1414 replies3 threads Senior Member
    My first PT was found via the hospital clinic I was referred to - she was the best at shoulder issues. My daughter was referred by the sports medicine clinic/orthopedic surgeon who repaired her torn labrum. My latest PT (for foot issues) was found via my running group. We partner with a clinic that focuses on athletic rehab, although they do other sorts as well. Someone in the group used this same PT and I then got another vote for her from the podiatrist and the orthotic maker.

    The running store I frequent has weekly PT clinics where different PTs come in and do mini sessions. They've been in business for years, are into the run/track scene from schools to clubs, and partner with quality PTs and clinics. It's a way to see if someone gets it w/o paying first.
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  • zeebamomzeebamom 1414 replies3 threads Senior Member
    My first PT was found via the hospital clinic I was referred to - she was the best at shoulder issues. My daughter was referred by the sports medicine clinic/orthopedic surgeon who repaired her torn labrum. My latest PT (for foot issues) was found via my running group. We partner with a clinic that focuses on athletic rehab, although they do other sorts as well. Someone in the group used this same PT and I then got another vote for her from the podiatrist and the orthotic maker.

    The running store I frequent has weekly PT clinics where different PTs come in and do mini sessions. They've been in business for years, are into the run/track scene from schools to clubs, and partner with quality PTs and clinics. It's a way to see if someone gets it w/o paying first.
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  • bhs1978bhs1978 688 replies12 threads Member
    I am a therapist with a specialty in hand an upper extremity injuries. All of my PT friends who work in clinics or hospitals are generalists who treat most diagnosis, however, most have a special interest (I.e. Shoulders or backs or knees). Ask around or when you call to make an appointment ask for the therapist who has the most experience, knowledge and interest in knees. Good luck to you.
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  • MomofWildChildMomofWildChild 23740 replies205 threads Senior Member
    Zeebamom- that is exactly what our local running store does! You aren't in TN are you?
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  • ignatiusignatius 3500 replies21 threads Senior Member
    You don't want someone who points you to a machine and tells you to do 20 reps and walks away. Most of the session should be very hands on. There should be a lot of analysis of your range of motion, gait, pelvic and hip alignment, etc.

    This!

    I have had PT three times over the years - three therapists. The first two therapists were hands on with follow-up exercises to do at home. The last go-round the therapist showed me an exercise and then walked away, came back to show another, etc. I felt I spent an hour paying for something I could have and should have easily done at home. (Some of the exercises were just stretches or done with a ball - no machines involved.) I should have stopped going and looked elsewhere.
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  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes 34203 replies770 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2015
    @bhs1978 thanks for the advice. The place I was referred to seems to have quite a few PTs so I'll definitely ask.

    @momofwildchild that is exactly the type of advice I was looking for. I'm not sure what to expect so I probably would've thought putting me on a machine was normal. Thank you!

    Thank you guys again. I've had a lot of bad experiences with doctors so I'm always a bit nervous when starting with a new specialist.
    edited December 2015
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  • zeebamomzeebamom 1414 replies3 threads Senior Member
    MOWC - No, WA. It is a great thing, isn't it?
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  • dyiu13dyiu13 2811 replies55 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2015
    Lots of hands-on treatment. Not just being told to do exercises on your own off in a corner or on the table.
    edited December 2015
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  • zoeydoggiezoeydoggie 627 replies29 threads Member
    I've done plenty of PT and agree with all that is said. Leave and don't go back if they aren't actively involved with you. My only other advice is try to find a convenient location. I've had treatment 10 minutes away and 30 minutes away. When you think about going 2 or 3 times a week for several weeks the travel time adds up and can ultimately make your enthusiasm for therapy go away.
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