While gardening on Mother’s Day, Katherine (Kat) Schneider tripped and fell off a step, severely dislocating and fracturing her left ankle. She was immediately taken to the emergency room, where she learned she would need surgery to repair the injury.
“They told me I had a trimalleolar fracture and a dislocated ankle,” she said. “Needless to say, that’s not how I wanted to spend my Mother’s Day.”
Following her ankle repair, Kat was placed on non-weightbearing restrictions for thirteen weeks and then transitioned to an air cast to protect from further injury. Taking extended time off her feet was difficult for the busy mom.
“I have a four-year-old son who keeps me active, but I couldn’t be on my feet very long, and I was just out of shape in general from sitting so much after surgery,” she said. “Everything was tight, and it made walking difficult. I actually only started walking again four weeks prior to going to physical therapy.”
To resume her normal activities, Kat opted to see Lisa Rohrbaugh, PT, DPT, at ARC Physical Therapy+ in Lenexa. While the clinic is primarily known for treating vestibular and concussion related disorders, the staff also treats other conditions, such as foot and ankle injuries.
“When Kat first came to therapy, she had difficulty standing, walking and going up and down stairs,” Lisa said. “She was also experiencing quite a bit of cramping in her left leg, particularly at night, which made it difficult for her to sleep comfortably.”
Under the guidance of Lisa, Kat underwent 10 weeks of biweekly physical therapy. In addition to a thorough evaluation and assessment of her condition, her sessions included gait training, manual therapy, stretching, strengthening and range of motion exercises.
“Our programs at ARC are always individualized,” Lisa said. “For Kat, what was most important was being able to return to physical activity, running and playing with her son without worrying about pain, loss of balance or re-injury, so we focused on functional movements.”
Within a week, Lisa noticed significant improvement in Kat’s range of motion and gait patterns.
“Physical therapy is about quickly and safely getting people back to doing the things they love,” Lisa said. “With hard work in the clinic and dedication to her home exercise program, Kat gradually got stronger. She was able to walk without limping, and she could get up and down stairs without pain.”
Eventually, Kat progressed to hopping, jumping, jogging, throwing and pivoting to quickly change direction for sports and playing with her son. She attributes her success to Lisa and the team at ARC Physical Therapy+.
“Lisa gave me a really good home plan with exercises that I could keep up with after physical therapy,” she said. “Since then, I have been able to go on walks and stay active with my son. I know I can fall back on the advice Lisa gave me if anything happens, and that has been really helpful.”
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