Physical therapy gets patients up and moving


Staff writer

Normally, a patient wouldnŽ’t have to pick up marbles with his or her toes after an ankle injury.

But that is just what Federal WayŽ’s HealthSouth, a rehabilitation clinic for people with injuries just out of the hospital, made patient Mary Lou Turner do.

Turner, who works as a receptionist at a care center, answered a cry for help one day from one of the centerŽ’s patients, but instead she was the one who needed the help. Her foot was run over by a wheel chair twice and she suffered a sprained ankle.

After she got out of the hospital, Turner went to HealthSouth for rehabilitation to regain strength in her leg.

She was in rehabilitation for a month and quickly recovered by doing the exercises requested by her physical therapist.

One of the therapists at HealthSouth, Susan Cwiertnia, said they tell patients that some stuff they do in physical therapy might cause a little bit of pain. They tell patients the benefits of decreased pain because of therapy and try to get them moving again, she said.

Physical therapists at the clinic had Turner work with marbles and rubber bands that not only strengthened her ankle but her leg muscles, as well.

Ž“You have to look at (patientsŽ’) joints because their muscles get weakŽ” after an injury, said Cwiertnia.

Turner said she enjoyed her therapy and would recommend it to anyone who has suffered an injury.

Ž“If you walk in, you see our patients laughing and having a good time,Ž” Cwiertnia said. Ž“We try to make therapy fun and put the patients at ease.Ž”

HealthSouth focuses on patients that have had work or sports-related injuries. The clinic takes mostly patients from local hospitals, but doctors from Seattle and Tacoma can refer patients here.

HealthSouth is not the only place for patientsŽ’ physical therapy located in South King County. St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way offers many physical, speech and occupational therapy options for its patients. A new physical therapy unit is scheduled to open in December with an added 62,500 square feet.

St. Francis offers many rehabilitation options for its patients, including physical therapy for sports injuries and total knee joint replacement, and occupational therapy for hands that have been crushed in an industrial accident or patients with carpal tunnel syndrome.

The hospital also helps people who have suffered a stroke, head injury or other neurological problems.

Ž“We do things that other physical therapy places donŽ’t do,Ž” said Kristina Anderson, the regional director of occupational and physical therapy for Franciscan Health System, which operates St. Francis.

Features added to St. Francis when the new physical therapy unit opens will include an AquaCiser, an underwater treadmill for patients with joint injuries.

A new fully-functioning kitchen, laundry room and living room allow patients to learn basic skills of everyday life after a stroke or head injury.

Ž“We think we will be a premier rehabilitation facility in the Seattle area,Ž” Anderson said.

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