Washington DC physical therapy conditions treated
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear often occurs through high velocity and high impact sports including soccer, football, skiing, and basketball. Most tears result in surgery and require rehabilitation afterwards to return the body to the pre-injury state. After surgery, patients experience reduced muscle size (especially of the quadriceps), weakness in muscles surrounding the knee, and a loss of range of motion. There are also many consequences that are indirectly caused by the surgery including inhibition of muscles, poor coordination, and poor movement patterns. Physical therapists help improve all of these deficits after ACL reconstruction through a comprehensive strengthening, stretching, and neuromuscular reeducation program and incorporate sport specific training to ensure a successful return to your sport.
Medial Cruciate Ligament (MCL) tear
The meniscus rests between the tibia (shin bone) and the femur (thigh bone). Each knee joint has two of them and they act as cushion for the knee in addition to helping with the stability and movement. Trauma to either the meniscus or the articular cartilage can disrupt the natural movement and function of the knee joint. Interestingly enough though, we can have defects within the meniscus and the articular cartilage and be without any signs or symptoms. Fundamentally, preventing knee injuries boils down to making sure you move your body the way it is designed, not the way your environment is allowing you to. For example, you can get away with moving incorrectly at the knee until enough force tears a ligament, or breaks down your meniscus/cartilage, or a tendon starts to degenerate. Seek out a physical therapist immediately after an injury occurs to put you on track for a speedy recovery. As you are waiting for medical attention, perform RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) to alleviate swelling and pain. If surgery is required, you will need to reduce swelling, regain range of motion (if you have lost any), and get your muscles to reactivate.
Neck Pain
Neck pain is a common complaint from people who spend long hours sitting at their desk and typing on a computer. Pain can be located in the neck itself and can extend out toward the shoulders and down the mid back between the shoulder blades. In more severe cases pain can spread into the arms towards the fingers. Posture strain that results from long durations of sitting and computer use can affect the muscles, myofascia (connective tissue), intervertebral disc, joints and nerves of the neck, shoulder, and shoulder blade areas. Physical therapy can work to alleviate pain and symptoms from the structures affected. Most importantly physical therapy will educate people on good posture to reduce the cause of the tissue strain and provide exercises to strengthen the postural stability muscles and to restore normal tissue mechanics and painfree function.
Radiculopathy
Neck pain with radiating pain is often referred to as spondylosis with radiculopathy or cervical disc disorder with radiculopathy. Radiculopathy is a term used to indicate that the radiating pain is related to a nerve in the neck region being irritated. Radiculopathy may or may not include functional loss, such as weakness in the neck, depending on each individual patient.
Frozen Shoulder
Frozen Shoulder or Adhesive Capsulitis is commonly identified by pain and very limited movement in the shoulder. It is most common in women aged 40-60 years of age but it can affect men, though usually less severely. Unfortunately the cause is often unknown, but it can be related to autoimmune or thyroid disease. It causes many limitations in daily activities – many women complain of not being able to take off their bra, difficulty washing their hair, and reaching for objects in cupboards or closets. Physical therapists can help to restore mobility in the shoulder joint by using manual therapy skills to affect both the joint mechanics and the muscles around the joint and by providing exercises tailored to your limitations. Physical therapists are commonly the first point of treatment for a frozen shoulder. The sooner therapy begins the quicker the recovery.
Rotator Cuff
Given the fact that underlying cause of shoulder pain and dysfunction can be multifactorial the interventions should be selected to treat the impairments, not necessarily the diagnosis. Specific exercises which address the scapula and rotator cuff, in conjunction with manual therapy, has been shown to be beneficial for patients with RCS. It is also of benefit to look at the mechanics and relationship of the thoracic spine to the shoulder, as treatment to the thoracic spine may improve certain shoulder impairments. Core/midline stabilization can also contribute to issues seen in the shoulder based upon the specific activities someone participates in.
Shoulder Dislocation
Direct impact can be the cause of a shoulder dislocation, however, shoulder instability and/or muscle weakness can be a strong precursor. Some people are congenitally predisposed to shoulder instability, but for others, shoulder instability is best predicted by a previous shoulder injury.

If it’s a partial dislocation, you can move your bone back into place without much difficulty or concern of severe injury. However, if it is a full dislocation, you may have suffered muscle and/ or ligament damage. A full dislocation will cause your humerus to rest out of normal resting position causing your muscles and ligaments to be distended. Moving your bone back in place will help the pain subside, but you’ll need to see a medical professional to understand the damage in your shoulder region. Physical therapy treatment should begin sooner rather than later but is largely dependent on your provider and recovery goals. If you have recurrent shoulder instability or a rotator cuff tear, surgery may be required prior to starting physical therapy. Shoulder dislocations can prevented with the help of a physical therapist who can help you gain proper shoulder stability and muscle strength around the shoulder blade, joint and capsule. Learn more about Shoulder Dislocation

Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Fasciitis or Joggers Heel is characterized by a sharp pain in the base of the heel, especially with walking or running. The plantar fascia is a long fibrous band that connects from the heel to the base of the toes and helps support the arch of the foot. Most patients report pain in the heel with their first step in the morning and after getting up from a long period of sitting. There are many treatment options for plantar fasciitis including taping, manual therapy and exercises but there is not a “one size fits all” prescription. A physical therapist will assess your particular condition and look at your mechanics throughout the body to determine the root cause of your symptoms. Learn more about Plantar Fasciitis
Ankle Sprain
Ankle sprains account for 34% of all sports injuries and occur during a rapid twisting motion when the foot is planted, or when landing from a jump improperly. Most common is the inversion ankle sprain, where the foot goes inward and the ankle rolls outward. Typical symptoms include immediate pain and swelling, possible bruising, and pain with walking. Physical therapy can help manage swelling, restore range of motion, increase strength and improve balance. Up to 40% of people who have sprained their ankle report feeling instability and many develop chronic ankle instability, leading to repeated ankle sprains. Physical therapy is important to lower the rate of recurrence and ensure a safe return to activity.
Achilles Tendoniitis
Achilles tendonitis is often associated with running, but can occur in any activity when there is increased stress and overuse to the heel cord. True tendonitis occurs when there is an inflammatory process in the tendon, while tendonosis is a chronic condition where the tendon has failed to heal. In many instances, the tendon injury is a result of poor biomechanics in the body, including joints in the foot and ankle, but may also be related to dysfunction in the low back and hip. As physical therapists, we combine a thorough medical history with a physical exam to understand contributing factors to the injury. We will work with you to manage pain, restore tendon function through eccentric exercise, and address faulty biomechanics. We will also review your training program and advise you on proper shoe wear, if appropriate.
Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
Lateral Epicondylitis or Tennis Elbow is common in racquet sports and jobs or hobbies that require frequent repetitive use of the hands. It is often caused by overuse of the arm with poor mechanics throughout the body. The symptoms begin with a gradual pain on the outside of the elbow and will progressively get worse over time. If left for a prolonged period of time weakness in grip strength may develop and can affect your daily activities. Physical therapists assess not only the local tissue site but also how each person is performing their activity to reduce stress on the tissue and promote healing.
Scoliosis
Scoliosis affects the spine by changing it’s alignment and most often occurs just before puberty. Minor scoliosis cases just require a brace while more serious cases my require surgery. Physical therapists can provide care across all cases by addresses posture and movement patterns and any muscle pain such as back pain.
Herniated/Slipped Disc
Your spine is made up of 33 bones stacked on top of another with a cushion, intervertebral disk, in between each one. The disks have a soft center and a tough exterior. Herniated disk, sometimes called slipped or ruptured disk, occurs when the soft center pushed through a crack in the tough exterior. When this occurs, it may touch nearby nerves that are tied to the legs and arms. That’s why a slipped disc can cause pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg. The goal of physical therapy is to help you enjoy your daily activities without pain. PTs can help educate you on how to augment your movements to avoid certain positions that may be painful. Best of all, every program is tailored your individual needs and goals. Manual therapy techniques may be used to help relieve nerve pressure and increase mobility of stiff joints and muscles.
Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis occurs during the narrowing of bone channel where your spinal nerves and cords are located. Although some people are born with spinal stenosis, most develop it as part of a natural degeneration of the spine or through the development of bony growths from osteoarthritis. Physical therapy can help you effectively manage your spinal stenosis and studies have shown that it is equally effective as having surgery. Our physical therapists can help you build strength and tolerance and decrease any pain you may feeling.
Sciatica
Generally, Sciatica is a term that is commonly used to describe pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling that radiates down the back of the leg. Typically, the symptoms follow the distribution of the sciatic nerve, but there can be some confusion as to the source of the pain especially when the patient’s symptoms are referred. Physical therapists can assess movement patterns to determine if the trigger point is the source of sciatica symptoms and correct any movement dysfunction that they find. Joint mobilization, manual therapy therapy, and myofascial release are common techniques to release or inhibit an active trigger point. Core stabilization exercises in conjunction with lumbar range of motion are also effective at reducing sciatica symptoms. Learn more about sciatica here.
Lumbar Spine
Low back pain is one of the most common problems for which people seek medical attention. Many times the actual source of low back pain is the intervertebral disc (a cartilaginous tissue that separates each vertebra). The disc can deteriorate or herniate (bulge out) and cause pain into the low back and/or refer pain down into the buttocks and legs. If the disc pinches a nerve, this can cause additional pain and dysfunction in the lower extremities. Physical therapy helps with reducing the pain and symptoms caused by the disc dysfunction. The primary goal of physical therapy is to address the source of these symptoms by restoring normal joint mechanics and movement at the joint, and assist the disc in returning to its usual position. Patient education, body mechanic retraining and exercise, and core stabilization are critical to recovery. Your physical therapist will tailor a program to meet your specific needs and help limit the likelihood of reoccurrence.
Posture Training
We spend the majority of our life sleeping, working, and driving. Most of us think we know what “good posture” is but, in fact, we are overcorrecting and performing postures that we can only hold for a few seconds to minutes. As a result, people return to their unhealthy, biomechanically unsafe position, which wears on our bodies and, over a prolonged period, will eventually cause pain. Physical therapists specialize in understanding how the physical demands of our day impact the body as a whole. We are specialists in understanding anatomy and proper positioning to avoid abnormal stresses. Obtaining one-on-one correction to learn proper achievable posture can have a profound effect on your comfort throughout the day and reduce future side effects.
Pediatric Injuries
Pediatric physical therapy can help children to further develop motor skills such as sitting, crawling, walking, or balancing.  Other issues that may be addressed are a loss of range of motion, flexibility, or strength, possibly due to injury, illness, or surgery.  Our physical therapists, with special training in pediatric medical conditions, will evaluate a patient’s specific needs and design a unique program to address functional deficits.
Bursitis
Repetitive overuse, poor movement habits, and muscle imbalances all contribute to bursa inflammation. Any direct pressure onto the joint can exacerbate bursitis inflammation. In order to lessen acute bursitis pain and improve range of motion, manual therapy pressure must be applied to the surrounding tissues. Once the pain is addressed, corrective exercises can be applied for long-term management to strengthen and stretch specific muscle groups. The goal of physical therapy treatment for bursitis symptoms is to mobilize normal musculoskeletal mechanics with guided personal treatment.
Hip Impingement
Your hip is the joint where your thigh bone meets your pelvis. It is called a ball-and-socket joint because the ball-like top of your thigh bone fits into a cup-like area within your pelvis, much like a baseball fits into a glove. You can have hip impingement for years and not know it, because it is often not painful in its early stages. When hip impingement causes symptoms, it may be referred to as hip impingement syndrome. The main symptoms are stiffness in the groin or front of the thigh and/or a loss of your hip’s full range of motion.
Sports Injuries
Injuries are a part of life while participating in organized sports, competitions, training exercises, or fitness activities. Poor training methods, inadequate warm-up, and lack of conditioning are a few of the causes of sports injuries. A physical therapist can part of physical therapy, they can teach exercises, stretches, and techniques to help athletes recover from and prevent injuries.
TMD
TMD, or temporomandibular disorders, are headaches caused by jaw issues. TMD can be just a nuisance — or it can be a life-altering problem. When it’s less severe, crunching down on a hard bit of food can cause pain through the jaw joint. With time and simple physical therapy exercises, the pain usually subsides.
Concussion
Recent studies have shown that concussions can have a long term impact on function, causing dizziness, balance problems, and headaches. At Therapydia we will not only treat the symptoms of concussion, but will also monitor and progress your recovery on a daily basis using our research-based return to sport protocol. We work together with your physician and coaching staff to make sure you return to your activity safely and effectively. Learn more about physical therapy for concussion.
Balance/Vestibular Therapy
The first step in treatment is to determine the cause of a balance problem. Once the type of balance disorder is determined by either a physician or a physical therapist, physical therapy can be a useful treatment tool to reeducate the body and develop strategies to restore normal function. Through practice and repetition, the brain will recognize when input is abnormal and respond appropriately. With the help of a physical therapist, a home exercise program can be established, and repeated a few times a day to reprogram the brain.
A physical therapist can also help identify extrinsic risk factors for falls that can be related to balance disorders, and help to develop strategies to create a safer environment. These strategies may include how to examine your environment for loose cords or rugs, which can cause threats, and ensuring your home has adequate lighting and space. The PT may also address techniques for focusing while in crowded spaces as this situation increases likelihood of falls. Learn more about our Balance Tests.
Women's Health
Our therapists are trained to for comprehensive treatment of health care needs exclusive to women, from in pelvic floor rehabilitation to Prenatal/Postpartum Care. Learn more about our Women’s Health Services.