Italy Blog

Blog from ‘Lo stivale’ or ‘The Boot’



It’s been 4 weeks now since I arrived in Italy and it is amazing! From the day I stepped off the plane to today, I continue to make new memories and realize how fortunate I am to have this opportunity.


Isokinetic Sports Medicine Group
I am doing my clinical in an outpatient sports clinic where I have treated patients from 8 years old to 87years old. Many of the patients are high level or professional athletes, including volleyball players, basketball players, Olympic skiers, and most importantly: “futballers” (or soccer players as we would say). The clinic is certified by FIFA, the regulating body for all international soccer, so players from all over the world are sent to our clinic to complete their rehab. Since the clinic treats professionals and “regular people” it is not uncommon to see a 60 year old women doing exercises right next to an Olympian, which I find to be incredible as I can’t imagine Kobe Bryant or Michael Phelps ever doing this!




The entire building is “one stop shopping” for the patients, as their doctor is just down the hall from the PT gym. There is also a swimming pool and  many soccer fields at the clinic which are used by the patients  Treatment consists of a certain number of sessions in the pool, gym, and field, dictated by the doctor and the patients progression. As for specific treatment, this is also dictated by the doctor with a detailed list of modalities (and they use a lot of them!), massage, type of strengthening and stretching. Due to the many modalities used and the high number of reps for TE’s (8×20 or 6×30), patients are at therapy for at least 2 hours, often 3 hours, which I guess is necessary at the cost of 80 euros per session. (Many patients don’t have insurance and pay out of pocket.)


Today I got to spend the morning on the field, playing soccer with some of the pros – ‘the Azzuri’. Including time on the field as part of the PT treatment is very interesting and beneficial to the patients. It allows the patient to get back into sport while still under the treatment of the doctor and the PT. The treatment progresses as any other treatment we are familiar with: starting off with basic running and walking exercises, then advancing to sport specific exercises with the ball, including shooting and agility drills. I was told the average time spent on the field after an ACL reconstruction is 6 weeks, ensuring the player is completely ready to return to competition with the team


Life the Italian Way
Life in Italy is seemingly much more relaxed: 2 hour lunch breaks, wine and limoncello during work , and laid back evenings with  dinner not until 10:00! I’ve spent my weekends trying to soak up everything Italy has to offer: Saturday morning market in Bologna, going to the beach in Rimmini and exploring Rome. My next stops will be Cinque Terre, Florence, and Venice.




The family I’m renting my apartment from is extremely nice, always making me feel welcome. They invite me over for drinks and delicious homemade Italian meals. As for the language, learning some more Italian would have been a good idea but it’s amazing what simple hand gestures and google translate can do!


I can’t believe how fast the time is going, but I miss everyone back home in Pittsburgh! Hope everyone is enjoying clinic!


Kaitlyn F
July 19, 2012 |

The Monday Memo: 7/16/2012


July 16, 2012                                                                                                   PITT DPT STUDENTS


Twitter for PT


Following the APTA’s large push to involve physical therapists in social media (or is it the other way around…?) there has been a lot more conversation occurring on Twitter recently. Some physical therapy students at the University of Pittsburgh are already very active, but many still have reservations joining the movement. If you’re intimidated or can’t quite figure out how to begin, you’re in luck! This week’s Monday Memo provides a ‘PT Starter Kit’ for the SPT (and others) looking to use Twitter as a professional platform to promote and advocate for our  profession.


Create a Twitter Account
    1. Go to Twitter and type in your full name, e-mail address and the password you’d like to use for this account.
    2. Twitter will verify your information and offer suggestions for your Twitter Username. Because this is a professional account, be sure to keep your Username professional. Many even include SPT or PT to further highlight their involvement with physical therapy. Create the account when ready!
    3. After you confirm your e-mail address, you’ll have full access to Twitter. Tweak your profile and upload a picture. Sometimes updates to this information can take a day or two before it’s displayed so don’t worry if things don’t change immediately!
 General Tips and FAQs
  • When I ‘tweet’, who will see it?  –  Your tweets will only be seen by people who follow you. That is, until someone decides to ‘retweet’ what you’ve said. If someone ‘retweets’ your original tweet, your original tweet will be seen by everyone who follows the ‘retweet’-er.
  • What is a # ?  –  The # is called a ‘hashtag’. It’s used to describe a tweet’s topic. If you search for a hashtag term, such as #SolvePT, Twitter will show all tweets containing ‘#SolvePT’, regardless if you follow those people! 
  • What happens if I go over the 140 character limit?  – If you attempt to tweet something with >140 characters, Twitter will not allow it to be sent. There are applications and programs that allow your message to be longer, but they’ll be displayed only after someone clicks a link in your tweet. Get creative with abbreviations to fit your whole message.
  • Why do I see the @ before names?  – If you see @PittPT, it simply means you’re tweeting ‘at’ them. It’s like calling out their name so they can hear you! When someone calls out your name, they’re trying to ‘connect’ with you. Click the ‘@ Connect’ link to see all the Twitter activity that involves you, including recent ‘followers’, ‘favorited’ tweets, ‘retweets’ and other notifications.
 Follow PT Tweeps!

Social media is about being social. The best part about physical therapy and Twitter is the incredibly supportive, enthusiastic and inspirational community members who are just waiting to engage the newcomers! You’ll find people sharing articles, opinions, thoughts, problems, solutions and just about everything else regarding physical therapy- but you’ll just have to be sure you’re following the right people. After asking the community who their favorite PT related Tweeps are, a few names were repeated and popped up consistently. Follow someone, you might learn something!

Check out the ‘PT Starter Kit’ for a jumpstart on some of the people to follow! (Nowhere near a complete list, apologizes for leaving out recommendations… and not in any certain order)

 Description in 140 characters  Personal Notes
APTAtweets The American Physical Therapy Association seeks advancements in physical therapy practice, research, and education. Our national organization embracing social media! Finally!
SnippetTherPhys Not sure where to turn for information on physical therapy? Wonder what a physical therapist thinks? Also an Ironheart Triathlete this year. Queen of #SolvePT and infamous Tuesday night chats
PTThinkTank Critical observations of health, science, & physical therapy profession. Brainchild of @EricRobertson. Contributions by @Dr_Ridge_DPT & @MPascoe Always challenging the conventional with thought and logic.
 ABesselink Physical therapist-McKenzie Diplomat, endurance sports coach, author (RunSmart: A Comprehensive Approach To Injury-Free Running), educator, Smart Life Project True motivator and heavily invested in the future of physical therapy.
APTASA The American Physical Therapy Association’s Student Assembly. Follow to get great news affecting students
AHRQNews U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Great way to stay current on the most recent Healthcare buzz
IMulliganPT Assoc Prof Physical Therapy Saint Francis University Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Association President Our passionate PPTA President… ’nuff said!
 The_OMPT DPT, part time faculty Daemen College adjunct at D’Youville College, SUNY Buffalo, Fellowship trained in OMPT Entrepreneur and blogging fiend always looking to inform the public.
Therapydia Therapydia is the largest online community dedicated to Physical Therapy. Through their campaign, #PromotePT, they are using social media to elevate the profession.
 PhysicalTherapy Physical Therapist, founder of PT Development, Evidence in Motion, TexPTS & part of ProRehab and Breakthrough Rehab. Entrepreneur, business-minded and incredibly involved- literally everywhere at once.
Physiopedia Improving global health through universal access to physiotherapy knowledge. Outstanding resource! It’s what the APTA’s PTNow wishes it was. INCREDIBLE!


News, notes, & musings from the Department of Physical Therapy at University of the Pacific. Moderated by Todd E. Davenport, PT, DPT, OCS, Assistant Professor. Fantastic stream of all things PT. Very responsive and engaging.
DrJarodCarter Doctor of Physical Therapy with a Cash-based PT practice. Enjoys helping other PTs give 3rd Party Payors the finger. Always good for some great motivational quotes and research articles.



Physical Therapist specializing in Trigger Point Dry Needling, Yoga Therapy, Pilates and Paleo lifestyle in Alexandria, VA. Rock climber, Yogini, Supermama. Successful blogger and business owner who openly shares her visions and opinions.
 ShannonMitchel physician, physical therapist, ultramarathoner. interested in wellness, public health and nutrition. Unique perspective of a physician and physical therapist.
 Dr_Ridge_DPT Doctor of Physical Therapy|Scientist|Blog@PTThinkTank|Interested in: Physical Therapist Practice|Health Care|Advocacy|Fitness|Neuroscience|Scientific Debate Always questioning, challenging and pushing peers to think, learn and grow professionally.
 PittPT Representing all things Pitt PT- a source for students, faculty, research and news affecting our physical therapy profession. Important especially if you’re a Pitt student!
DPT Students I created a list of 300 DPT Students on Twitter. It’s not all inclusive but based on those who identified themselves in their profiles. A great way to #unite #physicaltherapy #students from around the country!
SPTSAPTA APTA’s SPTS serves our members, athletes of all ages/abilities, profession, & community via excellence in practice, research, education & development. News from conferences, publications and more involving the Sports Section.
 RobertSnowDPT Physical Therapist, Small Business Owner, Avid Cyclist and Father of Four. Working hard to provide excellent patient care, and family time. Superb example of a real-life-expert-clinician! Generously offers opinions and advice.
PTProblems  If you have something hilarious to share with other PTs, tweet something to @PTProblems or #PTProblems to get it retweeted.  PT school jokes. Must follow!
 Jerry_DurhamPT Physical Therapist in SF CA. Love Bikes, Music, Food and Wife. Own my PT practice. EOsf Member. Incredibly passionate motivator, supporter and advocate of all things PT.


Health coverage from the NPR Science Desk Continuous stream of the latest health news.
AcuteCarePT The Acute Care Section-APTA focuses on physical therapy practice, education, and research specific to the acutely ill. Best example of APTA section participation in social media. Engaging and informative.


Kettlebell Expert, Pain Relief & Wellness Specialist, National Speaker, DPT passionate to #SolvePT & improve public health. Absolutely practices what he preaches! Very inventive


Info for PTs, OTs, ATs, CSCSs, or any other orthopedic, rehabilitation, sports medicine, or sports performance specialist. A first mover in PT blogs, puts tidbits and updates onto twitter feed
 MoveForwardPT A physical therapist can help you achieve & maintain mobility & quality of life without surgery or prescription meds, in many cases. Brought to you by APTA. Public awareness and branding arm of our professional organization.
3BS_Therapy Bringing Science to Life through Education. From Astronomy to Zoology we’ve got it all.  Always interesting and responsive! 
 JulieWiebePT Sports Medicine Physical Therapist, women’s health evangelist and mom Bringing together pain, sport and women’s health on Twitter and blog
 BodyInMind Lorimer Moseley and team focussing on clinical neuroscience and the role of the brain in health and disease. Brain, mind and chronic pain topics. Very fascinating!
Contributors! Thanks for BEING THE CHANGE!

The best thing about using Twitter is the ability to connect with so many incredible people from all across the country that share the passion for physical therapy. I really appreciate the input, retweets and sharing from: @Jerry_DurhamPT, @DrBenFung, @Dr_Ridge_DPT, @AcuteCarePT, @PranaPT, @BrettfischerPT, @DrJarodCarter, @The_OMPT, @Jengalbraith, @laguna2019, @SandyHiltonPT and @JsalvaPT!

July 17, 2012 |

Newcastle Blog

Clinical Abroad – Newcastle, England

The turnaround time between our summer finals and my flight to the UK didn’t leave much room for last minute preparation. In fact, the reality that I was about to complete my first full time clinical abroad didn’t set in until I was descending into London. I’m happy to report that everything is going even better than I had hoped for!

My Clinical

My placement is at the Galleries Day Unit, an outpatient facility which specializes in falls prevention for older adults. Most patients have a history of falls, however others simply have identifiable risk factors that lead them to our clinic. We work with patients across the spectrum from basic balance and strength deficits all the way to advanced Parkinson’s and vestibular dysfunction. It’s an exciting place to be as a student and the people here are really committed to creating a positive learning environment.


The staff have gone above and beyond to make sure I am experiencing as much as possible while I’m here not only from a physiotherapy standpoint, but also across the continuum of care. Last week, I observed a physician in a syncope clinic where we refer a lot of our patients who have unexplained falls due to loss of consciousness. Yesterday, I spent the day with the ENT team who do in depth vestibular assessments. I even had caloric testing done. (If given the opportunity, never do this. Instant nausea.) Before I leave, I’ll even have the chance to do home visits. All of the effort and planning that went in to setting up this international experience has come back to me two fold. I’ll be very sad to leave when it’s over.


It’s obvious that our education over the last year has been extraordinary. The foundation that we built have has given me the confidence to make suggestions in clinic that have been very well received. Everyone at Pitt will be happy to know that I suggested measuring gait speed in our patients and I think we’re going to start doing it!


Life Abroad

There’s something so liberating about moving to a completely different place, especially when you know you have a limited amount of time to experience it. For better or worse, everything is an adventure. I spent the last three weekends exploring Northeast England. I hiked part of Hadrian’s Wall on Saturday and plan to do a lot more camping/hiking in a few weeks. There are so many castles to see and not enough time! I have also met some amazing people who are making sure I have all of the “proper” English experiences before I leave. They threw me a birthday party, took me to Sunday lunch, showed me a proper English pub with proper English ale, etc. I didn’t expect to connect with so many people so quickly and I definitely expect to settle in so quickly.


This really is the adventure of a lifetime and I’m so grateful that Pitt lets us have this opportunity. I’m happy that I can have such an amazing experience and yet miss everyone at home so much. It just reinforces that I’m in the right place.


I hope all is well back in Pittsburgh. Until next time, Cheers!

Lauren R

July 16, 2012 |

Buenos Aires Blog

Una Yankee en Buenos Aires


Hola todos!  Here’s a little update on how clinic is going here on this side of the world:


A New Country

So, it’s been a little over two weeks here and I still can’t believe how much I’ve learned or even really that I’m here in the first place.  I had no idea until about this time last year that we could even do a clinical abroad at U of Pitt.  The opportunity of this abroad clinical is just one more reason why deciding on Pitt was the right choiceDr. Susan Whitney graciously offered to call a vestibular therapist she knows (picture below), Daniel, and through more arranging and calls to friends on his part I’m now living with his mother-in-law, Nelly (my real life fairy godmother who is taking such unbelievably good care of me), having dinners with his family and friends a few nights a week, and observing in one of the best rehabilitation centers in Latin America.  I really couldn’t have asked for anything more, especially since this experience has already been so much more than I could have even imagined.


The Warm Welcome (Both People and Weather)

The people in Argentina are really incredible.  They’re very warm, inviting, thoughtful, and filled with energy to live that they love to share (which really reminds me of DPT 2014).  This translates to everyday life here in clinic and at home.  I already felt like part of the family on day one when his wife, Samantha, picked me up from the airport and I met their two sons ages 2 and 5 who are absolutely the cutest nenes ever.  I may be a little biased since we were all dancing together in the kitchen within hours of meeting them, but a couple of you have met them on skype and can attest to the absolute cuteness.  It has also been perfect to have the chance to hang out with them and learn a couple songs and games in Spanish that have already been helpful in clinic.


 Lauren and Daniel at the Course


Pediatric Clinical Experience

Clinic has been amazing so far.  I’m really only observing, but since it’s my first pediatric clinical and it’s all in Spanish it’s really been enough to take notes, ask questions, and help out when I can.  The facility is amazing and the way they care for their patients is pretty exemplary.  It’s a private rehab center so they have the opportunity to spend hours in intensive therapy with the kids and have the tools they need to help out in any way they can.  Here is the website with a couple pictures of the facility to check it out:     There aren’t any photos of the pediatric area or the gait lab but I’ll see if I can snag some of those before I leave in mid-August.


 Working Together

From what I’ve seen at FLENI, they put a lot of energy and time into practicing interdisciplinary care between specialties and being sure to use each other as a resource throughout the rehab process.  So far I’ve been mostly in El Laboratorio de Marcha (Movement Analysis Lab), where gait studies are conducted for patients as part of determining treatment plan, and outpatient pediatrics.  There’s so much about it I’d like to share, but I’ll send that soon.  Let’s just say though that it’s a really good thing we just had our first ped’s class and a biomechanics course before I got here.  My Spanish is alright, but without the background information in these areas I’d be totally lost.


Never Far from Pitt Family

What I wanted to share though was that yesterday I attended the II Encuentro Nacional de Terapistas Vestibulares headed up by Daniel.  It included a full day of classes on themes related to vestibular therapy, tests and measures, and fall risk in the older adult population.  It was extremely informative and it was great to be part of what turned out to be an international discussion of about 50 physical therapists.  I understood about 95% of what was said (thanks again to the year of education we’ve got going for us more than my language skills).  Also, I was pretty excited to see Pitt being talked about in Buenos Aires.  Dr. Whitney’s vestibular research was somewhere within each of the courses that had to do with anything vestibular.  It was quite impressive and if definitely made me miss all of you back in Pittsburgh!


Hope clinic is going amazing back at home!! I’m sure everyone is doing an amazing job and loving a lil break from classes.  Talk to you soon!


Muchos abrazos de oso y besos de Buenos Aires,


Lauren B 

July 15, 2012 |

Reflection and Dreams

When You Go to PT School, What Does It Teach You?


Personal Reflection

Sometimes we have reflective moments in our lives spurred by events, memories or nostalgic conversation, leading us to reminisce about our past. Tonight was the ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Awards on ESPN. It’s a time to recognize tremendous individual and team performances in sport from the past year, but to also recognize some of the industries most influential people. Tonight, Pat Summitt was honored with the Arthur Ashe award for her exceptional courage. Some might remember the incredibly moving and inspirational speech given by basketball icon Jimmy Valvano just 8 weeks before he succumbed to his battle with cancer. In his speech, he offered many words of advice including daily self-reflection:


“I always have to think about what’s important in life to me are these three things. Where you started, where you are and where you’re going to be. Those are the three things that I try to do every day.” – Jimmy V.


If you were to pick a few things of what graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh taught you, what would it be? Did it teach you to think critically, find your work ethic, learn to collaborate, build your self-confidence, realize your ability to help people? Anne Hathaway was asked by Charlie Rose what she learned in acting school and her response is below.


How did Anne Hathaway respond to Charlie Rose?


How Will You Get Your Quarter?

Anne Hathaway recounted a great lesson she learned about figuring out the essence of a scene and how to ‘go for it’. One of her professors used the example of a student trying to take a quarter away from him. No one in the class could do it. Then, when a student attempted to keep the quarter away from the professor, he failed within a few seconds. That’s because the professor ATTACKED his goal with all of the strength and raw emotion he possessed in order to be successful.



In physical therapy school and in life, we all have goals we want to obtain. Maybe it’s better grades, better clinical skills, or better communication. Some are more challenging than others, but they can all be achieved if we commit to them. Like filming a scene, we have to understand the essence of our goals and attack them. Are people keeping your quarter away from you? How are you trying to get it back? Ultimately, you have to fight for what you want to achieve and pour yourself into the task. Pursue your dreams with that level of passion, commitment and belief demonstrated by the professor, and you will succeed. Hopefully we are all taking away lessons like this as we challenge ourselves and realize our incredible potential to do great things in the profession of physical therapy.

July 11, 2012 |