Regaining Independence One Step at a Time


Walking 10 miles a day is nothing new for retired teacher Karen Menard. Between her active lifestyle of walking and weightlifting, she keeps her mind active by reading mystery and historical fiction novels. But her lifestyle came to a screeching halt when she took a fall and fractured her shoulder.


Why She Entered PT

Even though it was mid-January and the ground was covered in melted snow, Karen didn’t let that stop her from going on her morning walk. When she was 5 minutes from home, her foot caught on a patch of black ice, and as she describes it, the experience was “just like a slapstick comedy… my foot went out from under me!” When she fell, she was leaning towards her left shoulder, which is when she heard the snap of her shoulder fracture.

The orthopedic doctor was confident the bone would heal but recommended that she see a physical therapist. Since she had such a great experience in the past with Dr. Sidra Ethier, she knew she could trust Performance to treat her fractured shoulder.


From In-Clinic to Telehealth to In-Clinic Again

Karen began her physical therapy in the Pawtucket clinic and was soon transitioned to telehealth due to the Coronavirus. Although she had no idea what to expect initially, she assumed that it would be much easier than an in-clinic session. “I thought it was going to be a walk in the park. I knew I would be able to see my physical therapist, but I had no idea she would be able to see me – much less critique me during my exercises,” she said.


After her first session, she realized her initial assumption of telehealth was far from the truth. “When you’re in the clinic, you can ask for a second to rest or you can take a break when the physical therapist walks away to grab some equipment. When you’re at home during your telehealth appointment, you’re the one with the equipment, so if you need a break, you’re just staring at your screen.” Although tiring, her appointments proved to be the good workouts she needed to push herself to keep going.


She noticed her progress gradually when she realized that she was able to do something that she couldn’t do before, like take a shower without pain, carry a 12-pack of soda, and get dressed on her own. When the clinic reopened, Karen was excited to go back and show her physical therapist all the progress she made during quarantine.


Karen’s Advice to Patients

Karen advises those who enter physical therapy that they should be persistent throughout the recovery process. “Do exactly as you’re told – not more, not less. Don’t assume that you know more than the therapist or that you can do more than what they’re telling you. After all, they’re the professional and they want you to recover safely and quickly.”


Now that she has gained her independence back, she is so thankful for the support that her physical therapist gave her during her recovery process. She encourages people to try telehealth if they are unable to come to a clinic because of how much Performance cares about patients.


Does your story sound like Karen? Schedule your in-clinic or telehealth appointment at any of our 13 clinics throughout Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. We want you to get #BetterFaster.

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