Triumphant Comeback: The Role of Physical Therapy in Sports Injury Rehabilitation

For athletes, injuries are an unwelcome reality, often threatening their performance and dreams. Fortunately, the dedicated field of sports physical therapy stands as a beacon of hope, offering a pathway to recovery and triumphant returns. This article delves into the crucial role of physical therapy in sports injury rehabilitation, exploring its benefits, key components, and how it empowers athletes to reclaim their athletic potential.

 

The Battle Scars of Victory: Understanding Sports Injuries:

From sprains and strains to fractures and muscle tears, sports injuries come in various forms, impacting athletes of all levels and disciplines. These injuries can be acute, occurring suddenly during competition or training, or chronic, developing over time due to repetitive stress. Regardless of the type or severity, prompt and effective rehabilitation is crucial to minimize long-term consequences and ensure a successful return to sport.

 

Beyond Rest and Ice: Why Physical Therapy Reigns Supreme:

While rest and basic first aid play a role in initial recovery, relying solely on them often delays healing and increases the risk of re-injury. This is where physical therapy intervenes, offering a comprehensive and personalized approach to rehabilitation. Here’s why it’s superior:

  • Expert Assessment and Diagnosis: Sports physical therapists possess in-depth knowledge of athletes’ bodies and the demands of various sports. They conduct thorough assessments to pinpoint the exact nature and extent of the injury, ensuring a targeted and effective treatment plan.
  • Pain Management and Inflammation Reduction: Manual therapy techniques, like massage and joint mobilization, combined with modalities like ultrasound and electrical stimulation, effectively manage pain and reduce inflammation, promoting faster healing and improved comfort.
  • Restoring Range of Motion and Flexibility: Sports injuries often lead to stiffness and reduced movement. Physical therapists design personalized exercise programs to progressively restore flexibility, range of motion, and joint mobility, crucial for optimal performance.
  • Building Strength and Power: Weakened muscles due to injury or disuse hinder athletic performance. Strength and power training programs designed by physical therapists help athletes regain and even surpass their pre-injury strength, enhancing their power and explosiveness on the field.
  • Balance, Coordination, and Proprioception: Sports rely heavily on balance, coordination, and proprioception (body awareness). Physical therapy incorporates specific exercises and drills to improve these crucial aspects, minimizing the risk of future injuries and enhancing athletic performance.
  • Mental Conditioning and Return-to-Sport Strategies: The emotional toll of injuries can be significant. Physical therapists provide support and guidance, addressing psychological aspects of recovery and developing safe and effective strategies for a successful return to sport.
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Tailoring the Approach: Considerations for Individualized Rehabilitation:

No two athletes are the same, and neither are their injuries. Physical therapy programs are carefully tailored to consider several factors:

  • Type and severity of the injury: Different injuries require specific approaches. A torn ACL demands a different rehabilitation plan than a sprained ankle.
  • Sport and athletic demands: Each sport poses unique demands on the body. The rehabilitation program considers the specific movements and skills required for the athlete’s sport.
  • Individual needs and goals: Age, fitness level, pain tolerance, and personal goals all play a role in customizing the rehabilitation plan for optimal results.
  •  

Beyond the Clinic Walls: Empowering Athletes through Education and Self-Management:

Effective rehabilitation transcends the walls of the physical therapy clinic. Empowering athletes with knowledge and self-management skills is crucial for long-term success. Physical therapists educate athletes about their injuries, the healing process, and the importance of adhering to the program. They also equip them with exercises and stretches they can perform independently, fostering self-efficacy and promoting adherence to the rehabilitation plan.

 

Sports injuries are inevitable, but their impact doesn’t have to be permanent. Physical therapy, with its personalized approach, evidence-based practices, and athlete-centric focus, empowers individuals to navigate the rehabilitation journey effectively. By restoring physical function, building strength and resilience, and providing mental support, physical therapists play a vital role in helping athletes not only recover from injuries but also return to their sport stronger and more prepared than ever before. So, if you’re an athlete facing an injury, remember, physical therapy is your ally on the path to a triumphant comeback.

Medicare‌ ‌Regulation,‌ ‌Documentation,‌ ‌and‌ ‌Finance

Telehealth during Covid- from a patient’s perspective.

 

Over the past four months or so I have had the opportunity to see healthcare during the COVID-19 era from the perspective of a patient. This has allowed me to personally feel how the changes we have made to keep providing patient care during a global pandemic have impacted our patients. This opportunity has allowed me the chance to see the good and the bad of telehealth and social distanced health care. To begin I want to start by saying all the health care providers I have worked with have been wonderful and are all phenomenal providers, and second this is only my perspective and is not meant as a fully encompassed view of the current state of health care.

I wanted to start by stating how weird it is to go into potentially life changing appointments while sitting at home and staring at a computer waiting for the doctor in the virtual waiting room. The setup just feels a bit odd, one minute you are sitting there drinking your morning coffee in your PJ pants and then all of a sudden you are in a deep virtual conversation with a provider about information that changes the trajectory of your day to day life. Before you know it the zoom, or google chat room closes and you are left sitting there trying to process the news in your living room. The good news is many doctors have understood this concept and are willing to sit in the virtual chat and discuss details for as long as you need, however the difficulty with this is that there is always an abrupt ending to the call and the patient is still left sitting there with their mind racing and the urge to google what they were just told. One thing I have found that has helped is that when a doctor gives life changing information many of them have allowed me the opportunity to schedule an in person visit after the virtual call to follow-up and do the physical examination. 

Another area that has been interesting to see is that there seems to be no set appointment length with patients during this time. My experience has been that my virtual appointments last anywhere between 6-45 minutes. This has been an adjustment as a patient because many times you go into physical appointments and can expect to be seen for around 20-30 minutes. My best virtual appointments have been with the doctors that take the time that would normally have been filled with physical examination and discussed research and things to try at home and scheduling in person visits as necessary. My less effective virtual appointments were doctors just telling me physical lab results that have already been uploaded to my patient portal and ending the call with no clear conclusion. As many professionals try to navigate this new era of health care one area that can not be lost is bedside manners.

One area that I have enjoyed about being a patient in this time is that it has expanded the network of clinicians I can see. I was able to see my PCP back in Minnesota, while still going to school in New Mexico and then within the same week see a specialist down in New Mexico. This type of care has allowed for a wider variety and a larger network of providers to work together. It makes it feel almost like you have your own personal pick of providers as long as they are covered by your personal insurance. This makes getting second opinions easier and more efficient than before. 

Telehealth has provided many challenges for providers to work through on their end, but one area that can not be forgotten is the patient’s experience. The struggle of having to log into a virtual chat to hear news that could alter an individual’s whole life and having that chat end leaving them sitting in their living room is unprecedented for many individuals. Having had the opportunity to live this reality has made me recognize the struggle our patients are going through. The lack of face to face interaction has taken a piece of the compassion out of a professional field that strives to provide our patients what they need during major life changes. This isn’t to bash on telehealth. I have actually thoroughly enjoyed being able to utilize telehealth as a patient, it is just to remind ourselves that our bedside manners are even more important when social distance creates barriers to the compassion that many of our patients need. Through our own continuing education and experiences I think telehealth can become an important piece of health care going forward. 

 

Therapy specific telehealth services that Cigna will cover during COVID-19 pandemic.

Corona Virus Emergency Loan Program & Accelerated and Advance Payment Program with CMS

Fall, 2018: What Is “Defensible Documentation?”

What Is “Defensible Documentation?”

Hannah Mullaney

Defensible documentation in the physical therapy world — what does this entail? A paper chart donned with purple gloves, yellow gown, and p99 respiratory mask? Or maybe a sleek EMR (electronic medical record) laced with the defensive skills of a black belt extraordinaire. Actually, it harkens to the diligent PT typing notes over lunch, after work, and before patients arrive the next morning.
What is documentation? It is the thorough note that a physical therapist writes explaining what happened during an appointment. How was the patient? What happened during therapy? Why should insurance pay the therapist? It needs to be detailed enough to stand trial in a court case yet succinct enough for a single person to document 6-16 appointments in a day.
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) website faithfully reminds practicing PTs why documentation is so important.
Health care consumers trust physical therapists to use their expert training to improve, maintain, restore, and enhance movement, activity, and health for optimal functioning and quality of life. While safety and quality of care is most important when caring for patients and clients, documentation throughout the episode of care is a professional responsibility and a legal requirement. It is also a tool to help ensure safety and the provision of high-quality care and to support payment of services.
The national organization also provides tips and tricks for making high-quality documentation.
First of all, these are the skeleton of a solid physical therapy note, with a little sample of what each part means.
  • Examination – what the patient reports (subjective, “my hip hurts right in the crease for the last 2 months”), what the PT finds using tests and measures (objective, “limited range of motion of the left hip”), and systems review (“blood pressure is 110/70 and patient is oriented to self, date, place, situation”)
  • Evaluation – what the PT concludes from the examination
  • Diagnosis – Physical therapy diagnosis is different than a medical diagnosis. For example, if a patient tore their ACL, the PT would say, “Right knee ligamentous laxity” and the MD would say, “partially torn ACL.”
  • Prognosis – patient’s potential ability to regain function
  • Plan of Care – game plan!
Defensible documentation needs some muscles to give power to the treatment. This is the evidenced-based care. Tests, interventions, and exercises that scientific study has shown to be safe and effective encompass evidenced-based care.
The ligaments and fascia that holds defensible documentation together is the risk management component. If something was not written in the documentation, it is as if it didn’t happen. Therefore, PTs need to be careful to be safe in action and documentation in every single encounter– for the patient’s sake as well as their own.
Examples of risk management in note-writing include some of the following.
  • Confidentiality — HIPAA. Enough said.
  • Incident reporting – “Mrs. J’s blood pressure dropped to 90/70 during therapy.”
  • Maintaining patient records — filling out the daily notes and re-evals every time, keeping copies of insurance records, patient test results (X-rays, labs, MRIs, etc), exercise prescriptions, and the all-important consent form.
  • Electronic health record hygiene – maintaining safe passwords, keeping other patient’s information out of sight.
  • Fraud, abuse, and waste – only giving care to patients who need it.
Whew! That’s a lot for a physical therapist to keep in mind while they do dozens of these documentations a week. However tedious it can be, it is important for PTs to stay true and keep their documentation strong. It needs to ricochet against the possible legal encounters. It needs to be armed with risk management and evidence-based care. And the tool that houses all of this defensible documentation is the electronic medical record (EMR). A defensible EMR will follow the guidelines suggested by the APTA to keep patients and practitioners safe in the current age of medicine.
 

Welcome

New Members to the bestPT Network!

Each new member benefits from and contributes to our network strength.

Let’s welcome bestPT Billing’s newest members!

Chelsea Dezelia Hadfield, Adam Walsh, Dalan Abreu, Deanna Armijo, Sara Balthaser, Nicholas Blonski, Zachary Blossom, Anthony Casazza, Anthony Chavez, William Chynoweth, Roberto Cordova, Kaitlynn Craig, Renee Dupre, Lucretia Duran, Joslynn Fletcher, Allison Foulk, Micaela Gilpin, Paige Goodwin, Morgan Kerschen, Charles Kettenring,Mikaela Lazar, Ashlee Lee, Ryann Montano, Hanna Park, Christian Pearson, Alexander Phillips, Francesca Picchi-Wilson,Jane Graham, Victoria Raught, Nicholas Romero, Alicia Roussin, Sam Sanders, James Schlavin, Tomas Tafoya, Nicholas Zarasua, Michael Alicto, Kori Apodaca Cordova, Tamaya Toulouse
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Nicole Coddington, Blake Hebert, Speight McKenzie
Julie Tran
Kathryn Gerletti
Aleksandra Gutsman

 

Everyone Benefits from bestPT’s

New Refer-A-Friend Program!

Looking at the landscape of physical therapy practice management, we see a playing field tipped to benefit the payers and hurt the provider. The relationship between payers and providers is adversarial, but billing networks offer solid strategies that allow providers to get back into–and win–the game.

The “network effect” allows a large number of unique providers to capitalize upon their strength in numbers.  Please help us strengthen that network.

If your friend schedules a demonstration of the system, we’ll send you a $25 Amazon gift card
For each referring friend that is in our network, we’ll credit both you AND your friend’s account $50 a month.

Summer, 2018: Is Physical Therapy the Worst Kept Secret in HealthCare?

I still believe physical therapy is the WORST kept secret in healthcare. Last year I wrote a blog titled “Physical Therapy – The WORST Kept Secret in Healthcare” which allowed for some great discussion by the readers on the topic of physical therapy and where we fit into the healthcare system.   This blog post followed an open discussion called the “Chelan Chat” at the Washington State Private Practice Special Interest Group (PPSIG) spring conference at Lake Chelan, WA.  The ‘Chelan Chat’ is a twist on the Annual Graham Sessions hosted by the Institute of Private Practice Physical Therapy and was moderated by Steve Anderson. This year I was asked to present an “I believe” speech, that I would like to share with everyone here as a means to continue the discussion and a call to action. Here it goes…
I believe we are in the “story” business as physical therapists. We spend countless hours listening to patient stories, stories told by other therapists, stories told by doctors, stories told by friends and stories told by loved ones. We also tell a lot of stories too about weak muscles, weak cores and my favorite the infamous sacroiliac joint slippage! A vast majority of people fail to recognize the difference between a story and fact. In fact, most people view stories as facts and as Carnegie Mellon research shows, our stories carry far more weight than facts. In reality, a story is what we tell ourselves about the facts, it is not real. Our point of view is not the truth, it is our perspective. And perspective is based on our knowledge, previous beliefs, environment, the context or space we are in, our mood, our emotions, social pressures, and so on. Essentially our perspective is based on where we are at in life when we make up the story. I believe it is therefore important to remember that our perspective is just one angle on the facts, it is not the only story. Facts do not determine our point of view, our stories do.
So, I would like to invite you into my story on why I believe physical therapy is the WORST kept secret in healthcare.
Most of you are familiar with the common phrase “the best kept secret”. Being the best kept secret is great when you want to keep something a secret, such as your favorite coffee shop, restaurant or favorite place to vacation. However, when it comes to the role of physical therapy in healthcare, I believe that we are still a SECRET to a majority of consumers. This was highlighted in 2007 by Stephanie Carter and John Rizzo when they demonstrated that less than 7% of patients with musculoskeletal conditions utilize outpatient physical therapy services and again in 2012 in the Fritz and Childs study.
So, hopefully you are sitting there asking yourselves, why are we a secret? I believe we are the worst kept secret in healthcare for four main reasons:
  1. We have an identity crisis
  2. We suck at marketing
  3. We don’t know how to sell our product
  4. We are bullies to our brothers and sisters
Despite our shortcomings as a profession, I believe we are the BEST profession in a broken healthcare system and it is our time to move into the limelight.
 

Welcome

New Members to the bestPT Network!

Each new member benefits from and contributes to our network strength.

Let’s welcome bestPT Billing’s newest members!

Jon Meyer
Asbury University, Wilmore, KY
Marissa Crouse
Jessica Lopez
Mary Ann Williams & Rani Patel
Caitlin Westlake
Erika Morales & Brandon Selvey
Alex Galewski
Fenn Chiropractic, Tallahassee, FL
Maddie Larsen & Robert Neise
Health Rehab Solutions, Kalispell, MY
Martha Cernicchiaro
Anna Barkins
Sheli Peterson
Physicians Vein Clinics, Sioux Falls, SD
Allison Enoch
Ventura Spine and Disc, Ventura, CA
Jeannie Hile, Ashley Astles, Francesca Foley, & Susan Leach
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

 

Everyone Benefits from bestPT’s

New Refer-A-Friend Program!

Looking at the landscape of physical therapy practice management, we see a playing field tipped to benefit the payers and hurt the provider. The relationship between payers and providers is adversarial, but billing networks offer solid strategies that allow providers to get back into–and win–the game.

The “network effect” allows a large number of unique providers to capitalize upon their strength in numbers.  Please help us strengthen that network.

If your friend schedules a demonstration of the system, we’ll send you a $25 Amazon gift card
For each referring friend that is in our network, we’ll credit both you AND your friend’s account $50 a month.