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What to expect from therapy

Physical Therapy for your Feet - Let’s start from the ground up.

“I don't run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet.”

Nadia Comaneci

Tips to Get Started

The first visit with a therapist can be overwhelming at times, but this doesn’t have to be the case. There are a few things you can do to make the session less daunting. Once you have an appointment set up, please allow yourself enough time to find our location. Bring essential paperwork with you, including your doctor’s order for physical therapy or PT, insurance information, list of medications and any other information that may help us with your session. Present these items at the front desk as you check in to the office. You will be given further instructions there. We recommend that you bring a pair of shorts that you can change into at our clinic - This allows you to have more freedom of movement and helps us get a better view of your motions and walking pattern. If you have further questions about this process, please call Meritus Health’s Total Rehab Care at 301-714-4025.

The Evaluation

Below is a general description of the evaluation session, so you have an idea of what to expect on your first visit:

Your therapist will be asking you a series of questions to get to know you, the history of your foot problem and how it is affecting your daily activities. Some questions may refer to any experiences of pain, tingling, numbness, weakness, stiffness or swelling you have had. The therapist would like to know what makes your symptoms worse or better. Other questions may refer to how the problem is affecting you and your ability to accomplish different tasks, including standing, walking, using stairs and your ability to participate in sports such as running and recreational or work-related activities.

A physical examination takes place during this session. The process involves you walking short distances a few times so that your walking pattern or gait can be observed closely. This gives the therapist a chance to see your posture while walking and observe how the rest of your body moves with consideration to your foot problem. Your ability to balance and walk on even or uneven grounds, such as steps, will also be checked. Foot and leg motions will be tested for flexibility, mobility and strength. This will be tested while you put weight on your feet – while standing, walking, balancing or perhaps running – and while you are off your feet, in sitting or lying down positions. Once these general observations are made, a more detailed assessment will take place with the therapist palpating your foot for signs of tenderness, changes in temperature, swelling, sensation, joint integrity and muscle and fascial mobility or restrictions.

Once an assessment of the problem is made based on the physical examination, your plan of care will be developed with you by the therapist. The two of you will set up goals and determine which physical therapy techniques and approaches would be best to apply and help solve the physical problems that were identified during the evaluation.

Setting up goals is a critical part of the therapy process and its success. It is important that you as the patient express what you would like to work toward as you participate in physical therapy. This gives the therapy sessions a clear purpose.

In most cases, the goal is to have less pain or no pain when using your foot during activities or at rest. It helps too if the goal is expressed in more specific and measurable terms – your need to go back to walking certain distances outside, climbing a flight of steps at home or carrying a 30-pound box at work. The more we know about your goals, the more we can direct the plan of care according to what is relevant to you.

Graton Technique

Graston Technique is a manual therapy technique using specialized instruments. Applying it to the calf muscles helps improve mobility in tight muscles and soft tissue. Your calf muscles provide movement and stability in your ankles and feet.

Once established, the appropriate physical therapy techniques and approaches will be carried out to help solve the physical problems identified during the evaluation. The techniques used during the physical therapy session can range from conditioning to strengthening, improving movement, working on balance, applying manual therapy techniques, using pool therapy or teaching you different ways to help yourself.

Going Further

At Meritus Health’s Total Rehab Care, we also strive to look forward and share ways to help you prevent future injuries, teach you joint conservation techniques for your daily routines, help you start with home programs and encourage you to participate in wellness programs - with the ultimate goal of having a mindset of sustainable fitness.

We look forward hearing from you! This general summary of our PT process is a start, but if you have questions, need additional information or would like to speak to one of our staff members and book an appointment, please call 301-714-4025.

glenBy Glenn Divinagracia

Glenn is a flat-footed physical therapist or PT who likes to run half, full and ultra-marathons. He has been with Meritus Health’s Total Rehab Care for 16 years. Glenn has been a PT for 25 years and currently resides in Maryland.

Sources:

Altug, Ziya; Sustainable Fitness: A Practical Guide to Health, Healing and Wellness.

Graston Technique: Clinical Foundations for Graston Technique.

11116 Medical Campus Road
Hagerstown, MD 21742
301-790-8000
TDD: 1-800-735-2258
meritus Health
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