Heartland Rehabilitation Services Sees Growing Trend: Runners Turn To Physical Therapy

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More and more runners are discovering physical therapys lifelong benefits. Jacksonville, FL runner uses physical therapist, not a personal trainer, to avoid surgery, stay healthy, and run faster

Many competitive runners hire personal trainers to get them in shape, run faster and avoid injuries. Not Lacey Skinner.

The tri-athlete is just one of a number of runners who are discovering physical therapy's lifelong benefits, according to Heartland Rehabilitation Services.

The 41-year-old former tennis player began running eight years ago, and later entered triathlons. One day while training, she felt a weird pain in her foot. Skinner stopped running and called her doctor. "He told me I had Haglund's Deformity on my heel," she said. "It is basically Achilles Tendonitis that's gone further. You get micro tears along the Achilles tendon, and it's very painful."

Runners racked up 1.7 million injuries in 2002, the latest statistics available from American Sports Data Inc. Only basketball players get more injuries than runners and joggers. Heel pain is the most common foot problem and it affects two million Americans every year.

Not wanting to have surgery, Skinner called Greg Carr, a physical therapist at Heartland Rehabilitation Services' Beaches Clinic, who created an individual treatment plan that included lots of ankle strengthening exercises.

"At Heartland, we're seeing more and more runners," said Carr. "They are learning that we can not only help them heal but also analyze their running patterns and screen them for muscles that are tight or weak, and joints that are restricted or tight. A lot of people don't know that we can retrain how you run, which can prevent injuries."

Skinner has been pain-free for the past six months. She does the stretching exercises daily taught to her by Carr. She's even taken her three daughters, who are nationally ranked swimmers, to Heartland for physical therapy as well.

"Greg gave me a maintenance program that will be with me for the rest of my athletic life," Skinner said. "I can't stress enough how much respect I have for Greg and physical therapists. I had no idea what they could do. But physical therapy works and you're going to be better for it."

Heartland Rehabilitation Services is a leader in providing unique, rehabilitative therapies in a patient-friendly setting. Heartland offers a variety of services at many of its free-standing clinics including aquatic, occupational and traditional physical therapy, speech therapy, massage therapy, Pilates and Pilates-based rehabilitation.

In Florida, Heartland Rehabilitation has 12 clinics in Jacksonville, four in Orange Park, one each in St. Augustine, Fernandina Beach, and Middleburg. There are six clinics in Central Florida, including clinics in Gainesville, Lake City, Alachua, Live Oak, Palatka and Chiefland.

Manor Care, Inc., through its operating group HCR Manor Care, is a leading provider of short-term post-acute and long-term care. The company's nearly 60,000 employees provide high-quality care for patients and residents through a network of more than 500 skilled nursing centers, assisted living facilities, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, and hospice and home health care agencies. Alliances and other ventures supply high-quality pharmaceutical products and management services for professional organizations. The company operates primarily under the respected Heartland, ManorCare Health Services and Arden Courts names. Manor Care is committed to being the preeminent care provider in the industry. Shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol HCR.

For more information, contact Ward Daron, Heartland Rehabilitation Services, at 904-382-1217, or Sharon Baker, Write2Market, 404-419-6677 x105.


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