Some of our physical therapists now see patients with no physician referral required. Please call to see if you need a referral.
Our highly skilled, motivated and experienced staff work closely with each other, our doctors and, most importantly, you. Many of our physical therapists are at the same location as your doctor — making consultations and communication simple and efficient. Our therapists value continued education and stay current on the most recent evaluation and treatment options.
What Physical Therapy Does
Physical therapy (commonly called PT) uses exercises, strength-building and repetition to restore your quality of life to the highest possible level. After an injury, major illness or surgery, you might find that it's harder to do things that you used to do all of the time. You may have difficulty getting around, or you may be in pain. Your athletic ability may not be at the level it was before, or you may find it difficult to do your job. Physical therapy aims to get you as close to the level you were at before the event that caused the change.
When Do You Need a Physical Therapist
You can benefit from physical therapy if you have had a change in function or experienced an event that had a negative effect on your daily routine or your quality of life. It is for any age and any level of athletic ability — from retirees to professional athletes to students. Physical therapy can treat pain that doesn't go away and protect tissues that are healing after surgery.
Our physical therapists evaluate and treat musculoskeletal and neurological conditions, including:
- Muscle strains
- Ligament sprains
- Post-surgical recovery after orthopaedic surgeries (joint replacement, tumor removal, bone repair)
- Muscle imbalances
- Balance issues (vestibular)
- Broken bones
- Sports injuries
- Work injuries
- Chronic conditions (Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy)
- Deconditioning (when the body has adapted to a less active lifestyle as the result of injury, illness, bed rest or sedentary lifestyle)
Goals of Physical Therapy
Your physical therapist will work with you to set rehabilitation goals and to develop an individual care plan. We start with these general goals and tailor them to your level of physical activity and lifestyle.
- Restore function.
- Teach pain management strategies.
- Promote active recovery.
- Improve quality of life by increasing sports performance and strength, maximizing work capabilities, decreasing pain and improving functional independence.
- Provide patient education to help you better understand your diagnosis and the effect it has on your life with the added benefit of promoting your active involvement in the rehabilitation process.
Types of Physical Therapy We Offer
- Outpatient orthopaedic physical therapy — Care for the musculoskeletal system, including injury management of bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and connective tissue
- Sports medicine physical therapy — Care of musculoskeletal system with a focus on sport related injury management and rehabilitation
- Post-surgical rehabilitation — Guided and titrated activity follows orthopaedic surgery to help promote tissue healing and motion, strength and functional restoration. Titrated activity is when the therapist uses small amounts of stress to build up tolerance and strength.
- Work rehabilitation — Progressive activity applications assist in returning to the job following injury
- Neurological — Retraining the nervous system to respond and perform activities as it did before a stroke or aneurysm or the onset of Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis
- Pelvic health — Exercises improve the strength of the pelvic floor to address issues such as incontinence.
- Lymphedema — Therapy reduces swelling and prevents complications from a buildup of lymph fluid in the body.
- Injury prevention — Education focuses on techniques to prevent falls and other events that result in injuries. Therapy addresses balance issues and how to safely move and go about daily activities.
- Vestibular rehabilitation — Therapy focuses on balance and fall prevention, particularly after a bout of vertigo.
- Custom orthotics (shoe inserts or braces) — Shoe inserts or braces provide a more stable foundation for walking, running and other mobility. They help retrain muscles and connective tissue to behave the way they did before an injury or illness.
- Aquatic rehabilitation — A pool provides a "gentler" environment for therapy. Buoyancy puts less stress on recovering bones, muscles and joints, while the water protects you from the negative effects of a fall during therapy.
- Cancer rehabilitation — Therapy reduces the negative effect of tumor-removal surgery, as well as restoring strength after radiation, chemotherapy or immunotherapy.
Treatment Techniques Designed for You
Our physical therapists offer the latest treatment techniques and equipment to meet your rehabilitation needs in a caring and compassionate manner. Varied techniques and treatments may be used in your rehabilitation program to promote healing, strength and proper motion. Examples of therapy might include:
- Therapeutic exercise – Guided prescription of exercise for strengthening and conditioning assists in joint stabilization, pain management, balance and activity application.
- Manual therapy – Skilled application of patient contact techniques promotes pain reduction, soft tissue and joint mobility, blood flow, muscle relaxation, swelling reduction and function improvement. This may include high-velocity thrust or a manipulation intended to improve mobility.
- Physical agents – Alternative forms of energy (sound, electrical, acoustical) promote healing, manage pain and restore function.
- Blood flow restriction therapy – Restricting blood flow is a strengthening technique that tells the body to increase the inflammatory markers that promote healing and recovery. It can reduce recovery time.
- Dry needling – This manual therapy procedure treats musculoskeletal pain through the release of endorphins and improvement of muscular mobility — used in coordination with other techniques.
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) – This manual therapy technique uses metal bevel-edge tools specifically designed to match bodily contours to reduce adhesions, improve blood flow and mobility and promote fibroblastic activity to assist in rehabilitation from injury/
- Pain relief methods
- Posture education
- Home program education
Access to Additional Therapy Services
Through our Sports Medicine Program, you will also have access to these unique programs, clinics and equipment.
- Athletic training services
- NX Level Sports Performance Training
- VO2 max/anaerobic (lactate) threshold testing
- Motion analysis
- Runner’s Clinic
- Alter G Anti-Gravity Treadmill
- Zero G Gait and Balance System
- Isokinetic testing
- Golf Performance Clinic
- Women’s Sports Medicine Program
- Baseball Throwing Program
- Bike Fit
- Osteoporosis Program and Bone Health Clinic
Getting Started With Physical Therapy
In many cases, your doctor will include physical therapy as part of your recovery plan. Your doctor may recommend a certain type of therapy or a particular therapist. If you are in the hospital, you may need inpatient rehabilitation as part of your care. You do not need to be a patient of a Froedtert & MCW specialist in order to see one of our physical therapists or to be transferred to the Froedtert Bluemound Rehabilitation Hospital.
Direct Access Physical Therapy
Additionally, we have many therapists that offer direct access physical therapy. With direct access physical therapy, you do not need a physician referral. Direct access allows physical therapists to evaluate and treat patients with musculoskeletal concerns, as well as some neurological conditions and vertigo. Our therapists have knowledge in treating new injuries as well as chronic problems — no problem is too challenging for us to address. If needed, we will refer you to a doctor for further evaluation. Call 414-777-7700 and ask about scheduling direct access physical therapy.
What to Expect During Physical Therapy
Your First Appointment
We want to hear your story, including why you are coming to physical therapy and how we can help you improve to achieve your goals. At this 45 – 60 minute visit, you will meet your therapist who will assess your limitations.
Plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment to allow for paperwork and to provide your history related to your condition. Be sure to bring a list of question for us to ensure we meet your expectations. Wear comfortable clothing You should expect to be physically active during this visit so our clinicians can observe your movement patterns. Physical therapy is a collaboration of therapist and patient activity. You can expect the following at your first appointment.
- Complete a comprehensive physical therapy evaluation to determine your treatment plan, duration of treatment, and expected rehabilitation time frame
- Explanation and education on your condition and our findings along with treatment possibilities to assist recovery
- A treatment plan built by you and your physical therapist to meet your specific needs
- Education on daily activities and pain management techniques, manual therapy, exercise prescription, functional training and application of physical agents to promote healing, manage pain and improve functional status
- Education on a home exercise program that a patient could utilize to help self manage condition
At your second and following appointments, we will continually assess your progress and adjust your plan as needed. We'll provide additional education and treatment modifications. Come prepared with questions and information on how your daily tasks and exercises have improved and note challenges you have faced.
We may perform techniques such as blood flow restriction, dry needling, manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, IASTM and physical agent application to manage your symptoms, improve range of motion and increase strength.
How Long Do You Need Physical Therapy
You and your therapist will determine the amount of time and number of visits at your initial appointment based on your goals and initial evaluation. Every five visits, you will reassess your progress and modify your care plan as needed. You should expect to see progress within four to six weeks. The length of time you are in physical therapy depends on the severity of your condition as well as any extenuating circumstances.
Physical therapy ends when you and your therapist agree that you have met your goals for functionality and your quality of life. Your therapist will let you know when you are nearing the end of your sessions.
After Physical Therapy
When physical therapy is complete, you should expect to have a good understanding of your condition or injury. We will help you develop a home exercise program so you can manage your situation on your own. You will most likely need to continue exercises on a long-term basis to maintain your progress and to prevent the issue from happening again. We will make sure you have the tools for continued improvement and a "first aid kit" of exercises, strategies and activity modifications to be able to self-manage your recovery.