Wii-habing your way to recovery at Howard Head | VailDaily.com

Wii-habing your way to recovery at Howard Head

Vail Daily staff report
Silverthorne, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyEdward Breer, a patient in the Silverthorne branch of the Howard Head clinic, is using the Wii as part of his rehab for an ACL tear.

SILVERTHORNE, Colorado –The Wii phenomenon has extended to the world of physical therapy. Howard Head Sports Medicine Centers recently began using the Wii home video-game system in rehabilitation programs for a number of patients in its Silverthorne clinic.

Patients are progressing in their rehabilitation using this new, entertaining method of treatment. “The Wii has introduced me to yoga and has given me the confidence to try it on my own,” said MaryKay Kelly, a spine patient.

A number of the program’s games require participants to move in ways that complement therapeutic exercises. The Wii has been shown to improve balance, coordination, endurance, and strength.

Recent studies have shown that the use of the Wii helps improve patients’ functional mobility and posture. Clinic Manager Ami Doyle, a physical therapist, says “The Wii is a fun and interactive way to measure patient’s progress.”

“The ability to give patients immediate feedback on their balance has been a great benefit to their progress,” Doyle says. “Patients want to follow through with their home physical therapy in order to progress with Wii exercises. The game challenges their ability to return to sport and daily activities in a safe environment.”

Patients who have had ACL reconstructions get a mental boost when they can ‘ski’ with the Wii three weeks into their recovery, she said.

“It appeals to those who have a competitive drive,” Doyle said.

The game switches patients’ focus from pain to winning the video game.

“I enjoyed the Wii so much that I bought one for home to continue my physical therapy,” stated Dennis Taratus, a knee patient who was treated by physical therapist Terri Stashick in the Silverthorne.

Howard Head will put Wiis in all 12 of its clinics by the end of the year.

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