Physical therapy rotation offers interdisciplinary insights

Podiatric medicine student Sara Revell is gaining insights on physical therapy that will benefit her career and her future patients.

Revell participated in an elective four-week rotation in DMU’s Physical Therapy Clinic that helped her learn more about the role of physical therapy for patients before and after foot and ankle surgery and for those suffering from pain. That’s given her ideas on how she will work with physical therapists in her own practice.

“For example, if a patient’s foot surgery is causing them to alter their gait, that could cause hip pain,” she says. “A couple of years later, they may have terrible hip pain. Physical therapy can help them avoid further injury.”

Because DMU’s physical therapists typically spend significant time with patients, Revell observed procedures ranging from quick mobility tests to in-depth manual therapy to those using higher-tech tools, such as ultrasound and biofeedback.

The rotation is part of DMU’s emphasis on teaching students an interdisciplinary approach to patient care, says Kari Nies Smith, D.P.T.’04, M.S.P.T.’98, manager of the Physical Therapy Clinic. Accordingly, she and her colleagues benefited from Revell’s participation in the rotation.

“We’ve gained a better understanding of what podiatric physicians are focusing upon to restore function and stability in many of their patients, and how we can work together to ensure the biomechanical and movement function is restored with retraining the patient how to weight-bear and walk more efficiently,” Smith says. “An interdisciplinary team approach is necessary to provide the best care in the management of a patient’s condition. And it’s always great for patients to see us working together.”

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