By Robert Lim, PTA and Jared Ernest, PT
Stretch Winter 2012
Who Am I Seeing Today?
By: Robert Daniel Lim, PTA, PES, CKTP
Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute currently has 12 rehabilitation centers conveniently located throughout Northeast Florida. At
these 12 locations, we currently employ licensed Physical Therapists (PT), Physical Therapist Assistants(PTA), certified/licensed
Athletic Trainers (ATC, LAT), licensed/registered Occupational Therapists (OTL/R), and certified Hand Therapists (CHT). You
may be wondering what are the differences between each of them? So here is your answer.
Physical Therapists (PT) are healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat
individuals of all ages, who currently have medical problems or other health-related
conditions, illnesses, or injuries that limit their abilities to move and perform functional
activities in daily life. Physical therapists examine each individual and develop a plan
using treatment techniques that promote the ability to move, decrease pain, improve
function, and prevent disability. Physical therapists evaluate and diagnose movement
dysfunction and use interventions to treat patient/clients. Interventions may include
therapeutic exercise, functional training, manual therapy techniques, assistive and adaptive
devices and equipment, and physical agents and electrotherapeutic modalities. The
American Physical Therapy Association’s accrediting body, the Commission on
Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), accredits entry-level academic
programs in physical therapy. Currently, only graduate degree physical therapist programs
are accredited. Most Physical Therapists currently have obtained a degree, such as a
Bachelors of Physical Therapy, Master of Physical Therapy, Masters of Science of Physical
Therapy, and/or Doctorate of Physical Therapy. All states regulate the practice of physical
therapy. Typical requirements for physical therapists include graduation from an accredited
physical therapy education program; passing the National Physical Therapy Examination; and fulfilling state requirements, such as
jurisprudence exams. A number of States require continuing education as a condition of maintaining licensure.
Physical Therapist Assistants (PTA) help physical therapists to provide treatment that improves patient mobility, relieves pain,
and prevents or lessens physical disabilities. Physical therapist assistants assist physical therapists in providing care. Under the
direction and supervision of physical therapists, they provide exercise, instruction, and deliver therapeutic methods such as electrical
stimulation, mechanical traction, and ultrasound; massage; and gait and balance training. Physical therapist assistants recording of a
patient’s response to treatment and reporting the outcome of each treatment to a physical therapist. All physical therapist assistants
earn an associate degree from an accredited physical therapist assistant program. Most states require licensing for physical therapist
assistants. The American Physical Therapy Association’s Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education accredits
postsecondary physical therapy assistant programs. Most states regulate physical therapist assistants through licensure, registration,
or certification. Most states require physical therapist assistants to graduate from an accredited education program and pass the
National Physical Therapy Exam. Some states may require physical therapy assistants to pass state exams. Many states also require
continuing education credits for physical therapist assistants to maintain licensure.
Athletic Trainers (ATC) help prevent and treat injuries for people of all ages. Their
patients and clients include everyone from professional athletes to industrial workers.
Recognized by the American Medical Association as allied health professionals, athletic
trainers specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of
muscle and bone injuries and illnesses. Athletic trainers, as one of the first healthcare
providers on the scene when injuries occur, must be able to recognize, evaluate, and assess
injuries and provide immediate care when needed. Athletic trainers should not be confused
with fitness trainers or personal trainers, who are not healthcare workers, rather they train
people to become physically fit. Athletic trainers try to prevent injuries by educating
people on how to reduce their risk for injuries advising clients on the proper use of
equipment and exercises to improve balance and strength, as well as provide home
exercises and therapy programs. They also help apply protective or injury-preventive
devices, such as tape, bandages, and braces. Athletic trainers may work under the direction
of a licensed physician, or in cooperation with other healthcare providers. A bachelor’s
degree is usually the minimum requirement, but many athletic trainers have obtained a masters or doctoral degree. A bachelor’s
degree from an accredited college or university is required for almost all jobs as an athletic trainer. According to the National
Athletic Trainers’ Association, almost 70 percent of athletic trainers have a masters degree or higher. Athletic trainers may need a
master’s or higher degree to be eligible for some positions, especially those in colleges and universities, and to increase their
advancement opportunities. Presently, 47 States required athletic trainers to be licensed or registered. This requires certification
from the Board of Certification, Inc. (BOC). For BOC certification, athletic trainers need a bachelors or masters degree from an
accredited athletic training program and must pass a rigorous examination. To retain certification, credential holders must continue
taking medical-related courses and adhere to the BOC standards of practice.
What is Arthritis?
Many patients that visit a doctor receive a
diagnosis of arthritis, sometimes they become
somewhat confused on exactly what this means
and most importantly how they are supposed to
manage this problem.
While we think of arthritis as one disease, it
is actually a group of more than 100 medical
conditions. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most
common form of arthritis and typically affects
people older than sixty. However, some forms
of arthritis can start as early as infancy.
Basically defined arthritis is athron (Greek)
meaning joint combined with its Latin meaning
The Common Factor
One characteristic that links all levels of arthritis including OA, is that they all affect the
musculoskeletal system mainly at the joints. Simply, joints basically are where two or more bones
meet. Let’s focus on OA (Osteoarthritis) which we typically treat at JOI Rehab.
Osteoarthritis and Joints
Such as defined OA causes inflammation of the joint which in turn destroys the materials (cartilage)
which cushions the joint. This process leads to pain, stiffness, and swelling which in turn leads to
limitation of daily activity. Simple tasks such as walking, going up and down stairs and brushing your
teeth become painful activities. Next, because of this pain, your activity and exercise level decrease
which causes the muscles that support the joint to become weak and allow OA to take a firmer hold on
destroying the joint. The joints affected are usually the knees, hips, spine and back.
The Good News
Arthritis is a disease that can be managed to lessen its impact on your life. The Physical and
Occupational Therapists at all JOI Rehab centers can treat your arthritis by working individually with
you to set up a program that helps maintain your joint mobility and strength and more importantly
doesn’t cause further damage to the joint. Also just as important, we can show you how to reduce the
strain on your joints as you go about your daily activities. Let JOI Rehab help break you out of the
prison of arthritis and regain your freedom from pain.