Tidewater Physical Therapists to Speak at Richmond Endurance Athlete Symposium & Expo

Kristina Carter, PT, DPT, CMTPT and Michael Satterley, PT, DPT, SCS, CIMT, CMTPT, CSCS will present “Improving Performance & Preventing Injury Through Movement Evaluation” at the Richmond Endurance Athlete Symposium & Expo on January 23, 2016.


Carter is the Program Director for Tidewater Physical Therapy’s Advanced Specialty Center in Williamsburg and is a certified manual trigger point therapist (CMTPT). Satterley is the Clinical Director at the Newport News Oyster Point Clinic and Performance Center. Satterley is board certified in sports physical therapy (SCS), strength and conditioning (CSCS), and trigger point dry needling (CMTPT).


The goal of their talk is to help the audience of athletes, coaches and other healthcare professionals understand the role physical therapists play in identifying potential problems that may lead to a full blown injury before an athlete gets injured. This is especially important for athletes who put in many miles of running, cycling, hiking or swimming as part of their training for endurance sports.


Carter and Satterley also want people to realize that a thorough evaluation by a trained clinician can actually help an athlete achieve his full potential by correcting faulty movement patterns that may be hindering maximum performance. Satterley says that, “speed, power, strength, and flexibility can all be improved when a person’s body is working the way it should. And that translates to getting across the finish line sooner.”


A movement evaluation helps identify weak links that decrease efficiency explains Carter.   She describes a runner who has difficulty maintaining single-leg balance on level ground or whose knee rotates in when she lands with each step.


These limitations will be exacerbated and even more apparent as the runner fatigues at the end of a long race or training session. Over time, the stress on the runner’s joints will likely cause tissue to break down and may cause the runner to have to take time off from the sport.


Both physical therapists figure out why the athlete struggles with balance and the cause of the faulty mechanics at the knee and then use a variety of strategies to help the athlete correct the problems. These may include re-training muscles with a custom exercise program and manual therapy where the clinician uses his or her hands to improve mobility at restricted joints or muscles.


Satterley points out that they help athletes by tracing less than ideal movement patterns and compensations back to either poor mobility or stability at a joint or an overall motor-control issue. The athlete’s brain has figured out a way to move that may be easy but is not efficient or proper and may lead to being sidelined. This pattern of movement has to be re-trained.


He describes how when the body compensates and performs a job in a way that it wasn’t designed for, things start to break down more quickly and eventually become painful and interfere with performance. In the case of the runner whose knee rotates in, she is taught to control that motion from her hip.


Video analysis is typically a part of their movement evaluation so that the athlete can see exactly what the clinician does and to show progress. The visual feedback allows for comparison before and after treatment.


Satterley mentioned that endurance athletes often don’t take the time to do anything else but train and unfortunately do not think of prevention until they get hurt and have to see a physical therapist.


Carter and Satterley know that helping athletes understand limitations in how their bodies perform from a biomechanical standpoint will help keep them from having to take time off from their sport due to injury. They often have to educate patients about the role of rest and recovery.


Both clinicians can see patients without a prescription or referral and those visits are typically covered by insurance.