Knee injuries are extremely common, and Merrie DeGrand, a Physical Therapist and Partner at Sport & Spine in Marshfield and Auburndale, encourages anyone suffering to seek help.
Sport & Spine Clinic specializes in treating musculoskeletal dysfunction such as sprain, strains, post op surgeries for shoulders/hip/knees/ankles/back/neck.
“We treat people who suffer with headaches, history of falls, and general injuries,” said DeGrand. “We also help people find their reason for pain or inability to do something and get them back to life.”
Knee injuries are extremely prevalent, caused by alignment issues from the hip and ankles, poor shoe choice, increasing the frequency of exercise too quickly, poor technique with exercise, weakness or an imbalance of how the muscles work.
“Also people who repetitively perform the same task or jump,” said DeGrand. “Unfortunately some knee injuries seem to run in families with an underlying issue.”
Woman are more prone to knee injuries if they have alignment issues, while men more often suffer them if they are inflexible.
DeGrand encourages everyone to stretch, strengthen, and condition for their activity, as well as get proper shoe wear and advice from reputable professionals.
“The Sport and Spine Clinic offers a strength and conditioning program (really for injury prevention) in July and August prior to the fall sports is a great start,” she added.
Treatment plans for knee injuries are developed after a thorough evaluation of gait, ROM, strength, alignment, and by evaluating what makes them painful (such as stairs, jumping, etc).
“We usually first want to decrease the swelling and inflammation,” said DeGrand. “Then, we want to continue to evaluate them to make sure something more is not happening. Then we will want to assist in correcting the alignment or muscle imbalances with tape, exercise, stretches, and then progress to get them back to their sport/task/job.”
The knees affect the hips, back, pelvis and ankles, and in some cases because the knee affects the hips or pelvis it can affect throwing or hitting a ball from shoulder mechanics.
DeGrand sees patients for 45 to 60 minutes of treatment and evaluation, where she addresses the joints above and below which could also be affected.
“We treat the body as a system,” she said. “It all works together.”
Sport & Spine prides themselves on their personal approach.
“We take the time to find out what the underlying problems could be. Sometimes it is the little things that we do everyday (we have always done that, but never realized that could be attributing to the problem), the education is invaluable to change at home what is the cause of the issue,” said DeGrand. “We are an investigative team, trying to find the next piece of the puzzle. If we can’t help you, we offer suggestions on where to find help. I feel like we have failed if someone doesn’t get better or learned something. We give exercises but want to make sure you truly understand why and how to do these correctly and also how to advance them once you are on your own.”
DeGrand enjoys seeing the transformation of a person from having difficulty doing a task or sport to returning back to that sport.
“I enjoy going to see them play and evaluate them in their element so we can help them improve even better,” she said. “I love the excitement from the patient. Everyone adds a new dimension to the clinic. We really get to know someone and how to help them to return to what their passion is. I could not see myself picking another profession.”
Brittany Novotny in Auburndale is certified in LSVT for Parkinson symptoms, and DeGrand is trained in visceral mobilization. Both clinics are trained in TDN, trigger point dry needling. Ashley Haasl, PTA, works primarily in Marshfield, but does assist in Auburndale also.
“There is a choice for physical therapy,” said DeGrand. “You have the choice to go where you prefer, sometimes you just have to ask.”