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Taking Physical Therapy One Step Further - Literally!

Posted by Brian Spence on Apr 24, 2020 11:24:17 AM

Physical Therapy, Healthcare, Allied HealthPhysical therapy serves a primary purpose of helping people achieve basic movements that they need on a day-to-day basis. However, what happens when physical therapy is taken one step further, and a patient is able to surpass basic movement and achieve a higher level of performance? That's exactly what Sutter Health Physical and Hand Therapy in Davis, CA wants to explore.

Traditional PT Models

Traditional physical therapy models, especially ones that are insurance-focused, help patients recover from illness or injury in essential ways. These models of physical therapy are necessary to help patients perform basic day-to-day tasks like stepping into and out of a vehicle, getting around the house, and putting on pants in the morning (one leg at a time, of course). This will always be the first step in a patient's recovery. But too often, it's the only step. Once a patient is able to care for themselves on a basic level, their physical therapy work stops. Sutter Health wanted to see what would happen if instead, they provided patients with an opportunity to take their PT work to another level.

Performance Based PT

With the knowledge that a lot of patients need or desire more than just a basic level of function, Sutter Health decided to install some new equipment and reach out to local sports organizations, especially those for youth. Partnered with young local baseball players, they used a 3D-motion monitor to examine players' movement and stability, providing areas for improvement. Then, they followed up with training to help each player improve on their performance, simultaneously helping prevent players from future injury.

So far, they've found the work has been effective for these young athletes, as they become more and more understanding of how their bodies naturally move, and how their movement might differ from the movement of the person next to them. It's improving performance, but the improvement doesn't have to be just for young athletes. Sutter Health is using the same philosophy to run a boxing class for adults who want to take their movement to the next level. A lot of the members of the class are patients with Parkinson's disease, learning new methods of stability through boxing.

When physical therapy is taken one step further, patients don't just reclaim an old ability, they gain a whole new potential.

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