Aren’t you meant to dread physical therapy?
Before I went to FLPT I was feeling pretty frustrated. After many months, three doctors and a different physical therapy treatment, I wasn’t healing from what sounded like such a simple injury (an ankle sprain). Finish Line was a bright light for me, so I wanted to breakdown why this place is special and effective. (Though I hope you never need the information.)
1. FLPT is a happy place. It looks more like a gym than a rehab center or hospital. They’ve got treadmills, AlterGs and other runners’ toys. There are big windows and lots of sunlight. There is usually a fun playlist on and TVs showing the game (despite my persistent request to switch the channel to the CW because surely it’s Gilmore Girl O’clock somewhere).
2. Finish Line is meant for athletes. I felt like Raechel’s plan for me wasn’t just to heal my ankle, but to condition me to be able to get back to running without injury. This was good for my needs but if you had a different kind of injury I’m not sure it would be the place for you. Raechel, my PT specifically studied running injuries in school. Pretty much everyone who works there is a runner or triathlete and that’s the focus of the their practice.
I learned how to respond when my ankle start to hurt and how to get stronger to prevent it from getting worse, for example by using hands free crutches to avoid further damage. I would even go so far as to say this has allowed me to comeback to running stronger than I left.
3. Andre handles everything. If you go to Finish Line, you’ll meet Andre. He handles all of the tricky things that make going to physical therapy annoying: figuring out your session allowance, sorting through copayments, making your appointments. He guides you through the muddle so that all you need to do is show up.
4. Personal Attention. With my last physical therapist, I was in a large room with other patients. My physical therapist spent my session multi-tasking between me and other people with different injuries. She’d have an assistant put heat on my leg and then set me off doing a routine of exercises by myself. No one really paid attention to whether I did them or did them correctly.
Finish Line is completely different. Each session starts in a private room. Then when you head out to the main, gym-like space to get started, your PT stays with you through the whole session, seeing where you’re at and modifying based on your status. It’s a bit like working with a trainer. (Sometimes you’ll roll out or stretch at the end with an assistant, but even that person is paying attention and always awesome.)
This would be enough but it doesn’t stop there. In between sessions Raechel emails me to check in and answer all of my “Can I run two days in a row? Why does my calf hurt?” questions with helpful, upbeat responses. It made me feel so much more confident as I progressed and added in more and more activity.
Also, my insurance only covered 20 sessions a year and she made sure to come up with a plan to allow me to get better without running out of insurance-supported visits.
True Fact: I have zero muscle memory. None. Raechel suggested I record her doing the exercises on my iPhone so I can do them correctly at home. That kind of small, smart thinking helped me actually execute the rehab homework.
5. Everything is right there. Raechel decided I needed AlterG sessions as part of my treatment, they have two in-house. One day I came in really sore from a hike and Raechel put me in a muscle compression machine which they have along with all of the other foam rolling/trigger point devices you’d imagine.
6. I got better. I don’t think scientifically I have evidence to only credit Finish Line to the fact that I can run without pain, custom orthotics surely helped, but it was definitely part of the successful treatment.
Finish Line didn’t pay me to write this post. I don’t think i even told Raechel I had a blog. I really didn’t progress substantially til I found Finish Line so I wanted to share the wealth. Thanks to Race Pace Jess for suggesting I try it out on Twitter!
PS. Take a look at the brand spanking new Cuckoolemon Facebook page! Check it out for 10x more goofy fitness updates. Like it to get daily fun and glory.