Why Choosing Your Therapist Should Not Be Based On A <5 Mile Proximity Or Someone In “My Network”
Ok, here's the scenario:
You injured your knee playing soccer, twisted it while making a cut. Your body went one way, your knee decided to stay where it is. “Pop,” wow that really hurt!
Fast forward to later that evening. Your leaving the emergency room with not much else then the feeling of, “wow, I completely wasted 5 hours of my time.” They took an x-ray, put you in a brace and said follow up with an orthopedic.
Two day later you see an orthopedic surgeon, after a physical exam and an MRI it is confirmed you have in fact torn your ACL. He suggests surgery to reconstruct the ligament, and asks if you would like to schedule the operation. You know better though; you politely say, “I will think about it, I’d like to do some homework and consult with a few other surgeons.”
After hours of researching on google, and reaching out to facebook for recommendations of “the best ACL surgeon in my area,” you make an appointment with 2 other orthopedic surgeons.
After much research and contemplation, and 3 consultations with surgeons you decide to pick the lucky winner to do your surgery.
Fast forward again, you just had surgery 3 days ago and the surgeon's office called to inform you to schedule your first physical therapy visit. You asked them for a recommendation for someone close by and in “my network.”
This is your knee, your life, your shot to rehab well and get back to the sports you love. You went out of your way to interview three surgeons and pick the EXPERT. And now you want to pick a physical therapist (who is going to be spending the next several months with you) based on geography and insurance plan!?!?!
No, absolutely not! I can not let you make a horrible decision like that. This is 2020, every field of healthcare has specialities, physical therapy included!
The example I like to give is letting someone drive your car. Would you let anyone drive your car? No? Most are very protective of their vehicles. But why are we not like that when it comes to our own bodies? Why are we so willing to give the controls over our knee, our newly reconstructed knee I may add to just anyone, because they are either close by or in “my network”?
The fate of how successful your return to sports/life is based on how well you rehab. Surgery is only the first step. if you have poor rehab, and are not properly progressed, then guess what. You're either never going to be the same, or you will just end up reinjuring again.
The reinjury rates are reported anywhere between 5-30% depending on age and activity level. The return to sport rates, at the same level before your injury is around 60%. Those numbers are not in your favor.
Be your best advocate, find a therapist who specializes in the ACL. There are experts out there. Do your homework, and thank me later!
Kaan Celebi PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, CSCS