Week 4:
Twin Cities Orthopedics


Mansfield Foundation Fellow in Physical Therapy

Twin Cities Orthopedics | Edina, Minnesota

June 24, 2013

After about a month with Twin Cities Orthopedics I have become very comfortable with the physical therapists, patients, as well as completing my responsibilities. For the most part I am seeing patients 2-3 times each week. I am beginning to notice that each session for the patients is different even though the goals are about the same for each visit. For example, a patient recovering from a knee replacement may have difficulty regaining mobility of the knee joint. Rather than working on mobility and range of motion for each physical therapy session, the patient may receive a home exercise program that has several exercises to help the patient regain range of motion on their own. As the patient progresses from visit to visit, the physical therapists are very good at thinking ahead and challenging the patient. The patient never seems to master an exercise before the rehab progresses. This allows the patient to work on these skills on their own, while at the same time working towards the rehabilitation goals during their physical therapy visits.

This week I followed a PT and his patient who had a shoulder injury. I learned a bit about the shoulder joint and the typical range of motion in the joint. The PT allowed me to use the goniometer to measure the range of motion in degrees of the shoulder. There are several specific exercises that isolate muscles of the shoulder around the scapula or shoulder blade. These exercises help strengthen the shoulder and immobilize the humerus bone to help prevent injury to the joint. After taking with the PT, I learned that many swimmers actually have weak muscles in the shoulders, but compensate by using muscles of the back which can result in injury.

There is so much to learn and so many subtle differences between patients which makes each patient a new learning opportunity. I look forward to attending an injury prevention seminar next week which will also relate to my personal interests as a runner.

A device used by many physical therapists to measure the range of motion in degrees of a joint. This measurement is used to chart a patients progress.
A goniometer is a device used by many physical therapists to measure the range of motion in degrees of a joint. This measurement is used to chart a patients progress.
Ettlin Professional Headshot

Laura Ettlin '14

Major: Biomechanics. Hometown:Torrance, California.