The thinking approach to therapy
It’s bad enough when you suffer an injury that prevents you from doing the things you love. But more frustrating still may be facing a protracted recovery one that may leave you with diminished abilities to not only pursue your passions, but your day-to-day activities.Vail Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy is there to make sure you not only recover from injuries and orthopedic problems quickly, but thoroughly. Headed by physical therapist David Honda, who has more than 13 years of experience as a physical therapist in the Vail Valley, Vail Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy is a name that is both well-recognized and well-respected.Originating in the Vail hospital years before, Vail Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy has been operating in Eagle County for well over two decades. That is just one of the reasons orthopedic patients from locals to second homeowners come to Vail Sports Medicine, now based in the Vail Cascade Club in Vail, and why numerous area physicians recommend the sports therapy clinic to their patients."Most of our business is from word of mouth," says Honda. "People who have been here before like it so much, they come here again and they spread the word."Today, Vail Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy is one of three comprehensive clinics that Honda presides over; there is also an Edwards Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy above Zino’s in Edwards, and an Eagle Sports Medicine Physical Therapy in the Black Bear Real Estate Building in Eagle. Headquarters remain in the Vail Cascade Club, however, where Honda employs five physical therapists with a combined 70 years of experience, as well as a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Nichole Boy, DPT, ATC."We do have the only doctor of physical therapy in the valley," Honda states. The Edwards clinic also keeps two full-time physical therapists on staff, and the Eagle clinic has two part-time physical therapists on hand; as well, there is a part-time physical therapist at the Vail Athletic Club in Vail.Some 99 percent of Vail Sports Medicine Physical Therapy’s casework is with orthopedic or sports therapy. This is the clinic’s specialty (they don’t offer burn recovery therapy or therapy for heart attack patients), and they do it exceedingly well.Although Vail Sports Medicine and its affiliate clinics are not the only physical therapy clinics in town, they do have some unique differences."What makes us different is that we take a strong evaluation approach," explains Honda. "It is expected that each of our physical therapists does a thorough physical therapy examination of each patient."Although a physician may have already conducted a medical examination of the problem and its cause, a physical therapist, he explains, must conduct his own examination to determine the best approach to physicaltherapy treatment. For instance, knowing the patient has a back injury is not enough; after an examination, Vail Sports Medicine’s therapists know whether it involves a disc problem or dysfunction, a misalignment or joint problem, or a muscular problem. "I expect my physical therapists to be the people in charge of muscular/skeletal orthopedics."At Vail Sports Medicine, therapists do not favor the one-treatment-fits-all approach. Therapists here do not assume that one standard therapy regime will fix all back problems, or another regime treat all knee problems; nor do they rely solely on exercises to correct a dysfunction. Therapists here take a manual, hands-on approach to correct muscular imbalances, stretch constricted muscles or strengthen injured ones, or correct misalignments."We take a real thinking approach," says Honda.Rather than having patients see whatever therapist is available at the time, as some clinics do, at Vail Sports Medicine and the Edwards and Eagle clinics as well patients are assigned to one therapist who follows a patient from diagnosis to completion of treatment."We have a tendency to treat patients individually,"says Honda. "It is essential to us to know who the patient is; we don’t like switching."During the winter, perhaps not surprisingly, some 40percent of Vail Sports Medicine’s caseload is comprised of knee injuries. Honda says the clinic sees about the same number of knee patients today as it did 10-12 years ago, with ACL tears comprising the No. 1 surgical referral. Another 40 percent of Vail Sports Medicine’s physical therapy work is made up of spine and lumbar problems. With two spine surgeons now in the Vail Valley, the number of patients the clinic sees in rehabilitation has increased. The remainder of patients the clinic sees have a variety of fractures, sprains and muscular problems.Honda says it’s "pretty nice" to live in a small community where there are so many excellent orthopedic surgeons, as well as advanced diagnostic capabilities and two highly reputable physical therapy clinics, of which Vail Sports Medicine is one. He added that even the communication between physicians, and between physicians and therapists is good, which isn’t always the case elsewhere. "(Vail) really become a Mecca for sports medicine care."
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Vail’s updated plans regarding the state guidelines and isolation housing requirements is one of several pieces of information guests are waiting on heading into the 2020-21 season.