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Break Out Into the Community

Becoming integrated by getting involved.

By Jarod Hall, PT, DPT, and Mike Connors, PT, DPT, PhD

While we all can agree that a private practice exists to provide healthcare to the members of the area in which it is located, contributing value to the local community is equally important. Simply opening your doors does not necessarily guarantee that you will become an integral part of the community you serve.. Here are a few ideas to help you contribute to your community:

Target the Running Community
There is a running presence in almost every community. Identify a local running group in your area. Offer to provide free community education for the group on topics such as common physical therapy management of running injuries or prevention of running injuries. Offer to perform flexibility screens or running biomechanics analysis and utilize the results of that screen to help minimize risk for injury. In addition, sponsoring a fun run or 5K in your community is a great way to highlight your practice while concurrently providing a fun service to the community.

Target the CrossFit Community
Given its high incidence in injury rates, CrossFit provides a significant opportunity for a physical therapy practice. Offering to perform injury screens for CrossFit athletes is an easy way to reach out. In addition, sponsoring a local athlete in the CrossFit Games or hosting an event is also a great way to become integrated into the CrossFit community. Education targeted towards proper workout preparation will assist athletes in successfully completing this form of high-intensity training.

Target the Cycling Community
In addition to the runners’ groups, assess the presence of road or mountain biking groups in your area. Cyclists are largely an active population, with unique challenges related to the type of bike riding they perform on a regular basis. Mountain bikers are more prone to traumatic injuries, so presentations related to injury management can help. Repetitive strain injuries are common in both road and mountain cyclists. Improper bike-fitting contributes significantly to the development of pain from abnormal postures while riding. Education opportunities can also be directed at offering bike-fitting clinics partnered with local bike shops to ensure that cyclists are properly fit to their bikes to reduce the likelihood of injury.

Target the Boot Camp Community
Community workout groups, also known as boot camps, are becoming more popular as consumers are opting for the camaraderie of a large workout group over smaller ones. Some of the participants in a boot camp are not appropriately conditioned to fully participate in such an intense workout. Community education aimed at improving baseline fitness levels to prepare for an appropriate corresponding level of exercise intensity can help to educate the public about the dangers of overtraining.

Target the Performing Arts Community
Performing artists, such as dancers, musicians, and vocalists, are some of the most underserved groups of entertainers. While funding is not abundant for the performing arts population, there are a number of outreach opportunities to attract members to your practice.

Ballet
Ballerinas experience high injury rates. Common dance injuries range from repetitive strain injuries to stress fractures largely due to the positions and postures required during most performances. A simple way to engage the dance population at a young age is to partner with a dance studio and offer education about the necessary items required for a child to go on pointe for the first time. In addition, provide education aimed at avoiding compensations and maximizing biomechanical efficiency during dance to best reduce the likelihood of injury.

Musicians
Due to the long hours of rehearsal and performance required to perform at an elite level, musicians are most commonly prone to upper quarter musculoskeletal disorders, specifically repetitive strain injuries., Partner with a music school or group and discuss optimal postures for playing various instruments to avoid developing neck and/or shoulder pain during performances. With a significant incidence of upper quarter injuries, musicians also present an opportunity to incorporate occupational therapy into the clinical management of this population.

By investing in the community you serve, you can establish your practice not only as the local medical expert but as an invested member of your community. Community outreach is valued by many of the clients we serve, in both small and large areas. Make the investment in your community and track the return on investment of your time and talent to demonstrate the many positive returns you will realize by becoming integrated into the community/communities you serve.

Mike Connors, PT, DPT, PhD, is a PPS member, Impact Editorial Board Member, and regional director of Greater Therapy Centers. He can be
reached at jhall@gtc-pt.com.

Jarod Hall, PT, DPT, is an avid blogger and a clinic director with Greater Therapy Centers in Fort Worth, Texas. Mike Connors, PT, DPT, PhD, is a PPS member, Impact Editorial Board Member, and regional director of Greater Therapy Centers. He can be reached at jhall@gtc-pt.com.