Instagram Insider: Physical Therapy Session at Thrive PT

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This week, on our Instagram, we followed along as Thrive PT Elizabeth D’Annunzio Shah, PT, DPT, OCS, MTC evaluated and treated our aide Katie in our SoHo clinic. Katie is a dancer and presents with hip pain when in the squat or single leg stance positions. We have assembled the Instagram story here for you so you can follow the journey from beginning to end and get a little behind the scenes look at what a physical therapy session is all about.

Evaluations at Thrive are different for each patient, but always begin with an analysis of movement as related to the individual’s specific complaints. Below, her PT Elizabeth is observing her move, palpating the joint, and deciding what to look at next!

While dancing, Katie spends a lot of time in single leg stance.  In an effort to understand her right hip pain, Elizabeth looks at her in single leg stance, both with the right foot moving and right foot down.  She progresses from this parallel stance posture to single leg stance in first position.  It’s always necessary to look at the positions important to the individual!  The teacher has different physical behaviors than the dancer, the architect different postures than the electrician.  As such, all patients at Thrive receive individual attention and are asked to move in ways specific to their lifestyle.

It is discovered that Katie’s left hip is sitting anterior in the joint socket, and Elizabeth chooses to help glide the hip more posteriorly in the supine position.  There are many ways to accomplish this task, both by hands on manual therapy and active exercise.  Luckily, the 45 minute, one-on-one treatment blocks at Thrive allow for creativity and active problem solving between the patient and the therapist.

To the gym!  Katie is on the reformer, doing one exercise of many with an emphasis on folding at the hip joint.  From this parallel position, she moves to first position and then to second position, replicating in supine the postures she dances in daily.  (Of course, our Boomerang version is not as smooth of a movement as in real life, but you get the idea.)

Task specific practice is key!  At the session’s end, Katie practices folding over her left hip with a dance posture she regularly assumes.  She has no pain, and her session’s been gearing towards dance specific movement the whole time.  It is always the goal at Thrive to get our clients back to moving!  We want you to do what you love without pain.  While you might not be a dancer, your movement goal is no less important, and your journey will be no less specific.

We hope you enjoyed tagging along with Elizabeth and Katie on Instagram this week. If you’ve never been to physical therapy, hopefully this story has provided you with an idea of what to expect if you ever need to visit a physical therapist yourself.

Thanks for reading!


Elizabeth D'Annunzio Shah Physical Therapist New York CityElizabeth D’Annunzio Shah, PT, DPT, OCS, MTC works with patients of all ages and abilities including recreational athletes, professional dancers and performing artists. She has a special interest in vestibular and balance disorders, movement theory and creative solutions for both neurologically and musculoskeletally impaired persons. Elizabeth is passionate about exercise as a means to maintain health, manage stress and enjoy life! She practices yoga in the Iyengar tradition, is an avid surfer, and participates in distance running events whenever possible. (read more)