A couple weeks ago I attended a continuing education course titled “The shoulder and knee: What they don’t teach you in school.” This course focused on thinking about treatment of the knee and shoulder in ways that we may not have in the past. The instructor presented updated research on various “hot topics” in health care regarding treatment of these joints. This research included improving our understanding of pathology and injury as well as various treatment options. Some research of particular interest included the effects of trying rehabilitation before surgery. While there are always cases where surgery is needed, many patients are being sent to physical therapy first, even before extensive imaging, due to good results with conservative treatment. Many of these good outcomes were seen with atraumatic rotator cuff tears, where the biggest factor limiting success was actually the patient’s belief that conservative treatment may not work. They also talked about PRP (platelet-rich plasma) and stem cell treatments.
All of this evidence-based information is helpful since I want to treat and educate my patients using the most up-to-date information. This course also presented a number of new and different ways to strengthen, many of which I have already started to include in my current treatment sessions. One of my favorite aspects of continuing education courses is that a practitioner can attend the courses, learn new techniques and information, and put them to use immediately upon return to the clinic. This helps my retention of the information and our patients get to benefit from what we’ve learned, as well. The course also covered a good amount of information on the treatment and care of athletes, an area of passion for me. I thoroughly enjoyed attending this course. As a health care professional, one must always have a thirst for knowledge and want to learn and become a better practitioner. These courses allow me to continue to grow as a physical therapist by keeping up with the ever changing health field and always re-lights the passion I have for this profession and the opportunities I have to help people.