From Setback to COMEBACK… It’s all about RELATIONSHIPS

By Bill Huddleston

In sports at every level, winning championships requires talented athletes motivated by their coaches, all working together to create a team bond of strength that can overcome every challenge. The same can be said for the day-to-day commitment of Excel Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine to form a relationship with patients for a lifetime of care.

One of the many advantages of the therapist owned practice is the team at Excel Therapy including Shawn Mayes, PT/DPT whose journey to a career in Physical Therapy went through physical therapy.

“While competing in football and track in high school and college, I had six knee surgeries,” recalled Mayes, a 20-year veteran working in orthopedics and sports medicine in the Tulsa community. “I missed my entire senior year at Washington Community HS in Illinois, which got me to rubbing elbows with a physical therapist that knew how to push my buttons to get me better. At some time during that journey I said this is what I want to do.”

A lifetime journey of commitment fuels the efforts of Mayes as well as the team at Excel Physical Therapy that includes 13 locations statewide proudly serving Oklahoma including four offices in the Tulsa metropolitan area. Mayes and his team serve the Tulsa market at 51st and Yale.

“I love working with athletes, passionate about that, but athletes come in many forms. It can be the 8-year old that got wrecked on a trampoline to the athletes in their seventies. I just evaluated someone today that wants to get back to playing pickle ball. If it’s a sport or an activity, I’m going to work to get them back to doing what they want to do,” replied Mayes. “And at Excel Therapy, our team really cares about the patient, about the person, about the heart of the person. The decisions we make are not about business but they’re about people.”

Or as Mayes describes, at Excel it’s all about relationships.

“That’s probably the most fun part of physical therapy. It really is about developing a relationship with a patient, getting to know them, getting to know their goals and desires as well as their hesitations and their fears,” smiled Mayes, “and, then walking through that journey of getting them back to doing what they want to do. I would call it holy ground, that when you get to interface with a patient in an area of struggle, pain or loss and be able to be a part of their lives in that puts us in a high-trust category.”

Among the many advantages available through Excel Physical Therapy is direct access to get their patients on the road to recovery the very next day.

“Direct access means that you don’t have to have a physician referral to start your medical care. We can be the entry point for care for your sprains and strains as soon as something happens,” Mayes explained. “In Oklahoma, direct access is good for 30 days and if we can get you back and return to your normal activity in that time frame great but if not then you have to return to your doctor or go to your doctor to get a prescription to continue with therapy.”

Among the many success stories of recovery, the team of professionals at Excel Therapy provides the proper professional treatment for all kinds of injuries from back pain or ACL reconstruction as well as shoulders, ankles, hips and other orthopedic-related pain, they also specialize in helping men and women, boys and girls of all ages to prevent an injury. 

“It’s our passion at Excel Therapy,” said Mayes, “we’re about developing relationships with our patients for a lifetime of care. Not just one injury or a complaint, it’s a lifetime of care to get them and keep them at the highest level of function. That is the true joy of physical therapy and the game plan for success at Excel Physical Therapy.” 

Foundation Under Foot

Darrell Platt, PT – Excel Therapy South Tulsa Clinic

The feet and ankles are an important part of sports performance– they are the foundation of our movement.  The activation for most athletic movement starts with the feet, ankles, and toes.

Ensuring that the feet, ankles and toes are functioning properly is not only important for injury prevention, it goes a long way toward maximizing speed, mobility, agility, power, force production and explosiveness.  Like all skeletal muscles, the anatomy that surrounds the feet and ankles are designed for movement and force absorption. When these muscles don’t function as they should, it severely limits the shock absorption capabilities of the lower body. This affects the entire kinetic chain, promoting greater potential for injury from head to toe.  In fact, according to Sports Health News, ankle injuries are the most common type of injury in high school athletes in the United States.

One of the easiest ways to help protect your feet and ankles is by selecting the correct footwear.  Most modern athletic footwear is built for fashion as well as sport.  Teams are issued matching footwear in order to give a cohesive team look.  However, every athlete performs differently, thus the shoe they choose should be individualized to their body mechanics. So while looking good on the field is important, each shoe should be slightly customized for each athlete.

Walking, running and performance shoes are not created equal so do your homework when it comes to foot placement.  Some people walk on the outside of the heel, called supinating or rolling outwardly.  And some individuals walk on the inside of the heel, called pronating or rolling inwardly.  More than 80 percent of ankle sprains are a result of excessive inversion, which is an inward rolling of the ankle, resulting in damage to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle.

Excessive pronation and supination can cause a number of ailments that affect the foot, ankle, knees, hips and back. Some of the more common symptoms of excessive pronation and supination are listed below.

If you are suffering from pain possibly caused by a foot and ankle problem, an Excel Therapy physical therapist can help.  Our therapists specialize in treatments for orthopedic pre and post surgical injuries and rehabilitation for sprains and strains.  Manual therapy, dry needling and ASTYM could get you feeling relief before the season starts without you!

Falls, Dizziness and Vertigo

Excel Therapy Oklahoma, Physical Therapy Oklahoma, Physical Therapy Tulsa, Physical Therapy Chickasha, Physical Therapy Mustang, Physical Therapy Broken Arrow, Physical Therapy Bartlesville, Physical Therapy McAllister

The presence of dizziness or vertigo in the elderly is a strong predictor of falls which is the leading cause of accidental death in adults 65 and older and account for 40% of nursing home admissions.

Falls are particularly prevalent above age 75 and in the elderly often result in injury, such as wrist and hip fractures, and can lead to declining independence and a progressively sedentary lifestyle.

At Excel Therapy, we are no stranger to treating patients who have experienced injury due to falls. Through experience, we have believe it’s important to keep moving safely to maintain health and independence, resulting in an overall decrease in demand on the medical system.

Caregivers know it can be a daunting task to protect a loved one from the many risks associated with physical decline. It’s important to identify the possible risks and have a plan in place to minimize those risks as much as possible.

The American Geriatric Society has identified many factors that contribute to an increased risk for falling including:

  • Polypharmacy (more than 4 daily medications)
  • Gait and balance changes
  • Decreased visual acuity
  • Neurological impairments
  • Decreased muscle strength
  • Changes in heart rate and rhythm
  • Postural hypotension
  • Foot deformity and poor foot wear
  • Environmental hazards

While our physical therapists at Excel Therapy may not able to address all issues, we can evaluate and address deficits related to many of them. Our highly skilled physical therapy team can evaluate a patient’s risk for falls based on functional tests, such as the Berg Balance Scale, and then implement a rehabilitation program based on the evaluation findings. A typical rehab program may include:

  • Strengthening activities primarily of the lower extremities
  • Core stabilization
  • Proprioception
  • Static and dynamic balance activities
  • Stretching to obtain adequate LE and trunk mobility
  • Balance correction strategies
  • Assess need for assistive device
  • Transfer training
  • Footwear assessment and recommendation
  • Vestibular assessment
  • Discussion of environmental hazards and recommendations for correction

Falling doesn’t have to be a natural part of the aging process. Fight back and contact your an Excel Therapy location near you to learn more about all the ways to minimize the risk of harm for you or your loved one.


What is a Functional Movement Screening (FMS)?

FMS identifies seven fundamental movement patterns BEFORE the onset of pain or injury. Excel Therapy physical therapists are FMS certified and able to identify areas of weakness, imbalances, decreased flexibility and motor control deficits for your individual areas of need. Now, you can develop a greater sense of awareness of the way your body moves, make a conscious effort to correct your imbalances and improve benefits from your training. Should you become injured, FMS is a great tool for assessing readiness to return to a sport or activity. You have nothing to lose, yet everything to gain. Call now to schedule your Functional Movement Screening!

Matthew Hathaway Bartlesville Pawhuska Oklahoma Physical Therapy Physical Therapist Bartlesville Pawhuska Oklahoma— Matthew Hathaway, MPT

Colds, Flu, Cough: Too Sick for School?

Colds-Flu-Cough-Too-Sick-for-School-Dennis-Thompson-ATC-Founding-partner-of-Excel-Therapy-Ardmore-Oklahoma-Physical-therapist-ardmore-oklahoma-physical-therapy-oklahomaIt’s a start of a new year and school is back in session! This means the kids are all stuck in a warm classrooms, locker rooms, and on the court. Unfortunately, while sharing ideas and activities, they are also sharing the germs they have collected from all of the holiday gatherings and travel. As an Athletic Trainer working with high school students I get asked all the time, “should my son/daughter go to school”? Symptom by symptom, here are some guidelines to help you decide whether your child should stay home from school:

Fever: If your child’s temperature is 100.4 degrees or higher, keep them at home. While at home, encourage your child to drink plenty of liquids. Your child should be fever-free for 24 hours (without medicine) before returning to school.

Mild Cough/Runny Nose: If there’s no fever, and the child feels fairly good, school is fine.

Bad Cough/Cold Symptoms: Children with bad coughs need to stay home, and possibly see a doctor. It could be a severe cold or possibly bronchitis, flu, or pneumonia. But when the cough improves, and the child is feeling better, then it’s back to school. Don’t wait for the cough to disappear entirely — that could take a week or longer!

Diarrhea Or Vomiting: Keep your child home until the illness is over, and for 24 hours after the last episode (without medicine). Hydration is key to recovery!

Sore Throat: A minor sore throat is usually not a problem, but a severe sore throat could be strep throat even if there is no fever. Other symptoms of strep throat in children are headache and stomach upset. Keep your child home from school, and contact a doctor. Your child needs a special test to determine if it is strep throat. He or she can return to school 24 hours after antibiotic treatment begins.

Earache: The child needs to see a doctor.

Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis): Keep the child home until a doctor has given the OK to return to school. Pink eye is highly contagious and most cases are caused by a virus, which will not respond to an antibiotic. Bacterial conjunctivitis will require an antibiotic; your doctor will be able to determine if this is the case.

Rash: Children with a skin rash should see a doctor, as this could be one of several infectious diseases. One possibility is impetigo, a bacterial skin infection that is very contagious and requires antibiotic treatment. Also, fifth disease is a contagious viral illness spread by coughs and sneezes; it’s no longer contagious by the time rash appears.

But when in doubt, you should always call your physician for advice

Dennis Thompson, physical therapist, Ardmore Oklahoma Physical Therapy

— Dennis Thompson, ATC, Founding partner of Excel Therapy Ardmore

Common Aches and Pains: Why You Should Give Physical Therapy a Try.

How many of us experience little aches and pains from time to time and seek treatment for them right away? More often than not, we don’t. We make excuses, or chalk it up to having had a few too many birthdays, elevated levels of stress, or a lack of physical fitness. Sound familiar?

What many fail to realize is just how effective physical therapy can be for alleviating discomfort associated with common aches and pains. Sometimes a simple stretching or strengthening regimen that can be done out of the comfort of your own home can make a world of difference!

DON’T WAIT until your minor aches and pains—like headaches, backaches, and knee pain—turn into debilitating problems. Your body is trying to tell you something! By ignoring your symptoms and hoping they resolve on their own, you may very likely end up at your physicians office with a prescription in hand for pain medication.

Physical therapists have a wide range of treatment options to help relieve your pain WITHOUT medication. Techniques such as ASTYM therapy, trigger point release, soft tissue mobilization, dry needling, muscle energy, as well as the ultrasound (US) & E-stim combination have proven to be highly effective in restoring muscle and joint function, which means patients are able to return to the activities they enjoy much more quickly.

No matter your age or fitness level, please consider physical therapy for your common aches and pains. You won’t be disappointed!

Christy Willman Durant Oklahoma Physical Therapy— Christy Willman, PT, Excel Therapy Durant, OK

A New Year. A New You. Add Physical Therapy to your 2017 Resolution!

Okay, it’s time to come clean. Who fell off the wagon over the holidays? So maybe you didn’t fall off entirely. Perhaps it was more like your wagon had a broken wheel and the entire month of December felt like one insanely bumpy ride.

We get it! It’s easy for the hustle and bustle of the holidays to catch up with us by the time the new year rolls around. Our back and shoulders are sore from lugging the shopping bags, our jeans fit a bit more snug after sampling the various cheese logs and homemade treats at holiday parties, and let’s face it—all motivation to do anything productive has flown out the window (those of you who still have your holiday decorations up can probably relate).

But the new year is here and it’s time to begin writing a new chapter in this book we call life. What’s it going to be…the same old story? Or will it be filled with excitement and adventure? Thinking of taking up a new hobby or trying a new sport? Or maybe starting an exercise program, perhaps? Whatever your goals happen to be for 2017, Excel Therapy can help you get off to the right start.

Physical therapy is so much more than simply treating injuries after they occur. Our goal is to address your current aches and pains while simultaneously identifying areas that may need strengthening. Addressing these issues prior to a new sport or activity is crutial to reduce your risk of injury in the future. Don’t make the mistake of doing too much, too soon, with too little information. Make Excel Therapy part of YOUR New Year’s resolution. Our highly trained physical therapists are just a phone call away.

And the best part? There’s no physician referral required!

Power to the Girl in 2017!

It’s time to rejuvenate your health and set those fitness goals for 2017. At Excel Therapy, we celebrate “Power to the GIRL in 2017”. Women have the ability to transform dreams into reality with one simple quality: Determination. Unfortunately, this determination can also lead to injury if you progress your activity level too vigorously, too soon.

Women have a wider pelvis than men, which results in a large angle (known as the Q angle) at the knee. This alignment creates extra stress on joints and tissues, predisposing women for specific injuries. Typical injuries in women include:

ACL Tears: Women are 5-8 times more likely than men to tear their ACL. In addition to the increased Q angle, women are prone to be more quadriceps dominant. For ACL tear prevention, women need to balance muscle control for the knee with increased hamstring strengthening, core strengthening, stretching, and agility exercises.

Ankle Sprains: Women are 2 times more prone than men to sprain their ankle. This can be combatted with emphasis on balance and agility exercises.

Patellofemoral Pain: Anterior knee pain caused by maltracking of the kneecap which results in grinding of the posterior kneecap against the thigh bone. This can be addressed with emphasis on strengthening the inner quadriceps (VMO) and stretching of the outer thigh tissues (ITB).

Stress Fractures: Small hairline fractures caused by repetitive impact. Women are 3 times more likely than men to experience stress fractures due to lower bone density. Proper rest is a key component in reducing risk of stress fractures.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome: Pain at the outside of the knee due to repetitive friction of the IT Band rubbing over the lateral epicondyle of the femur (thigh bone). The Q angle is a large contributing factor and ITB tightness can be prevented with the correct regime of stretching and balanced thigh/gluteal strengthening.

Plantar Fasciitis: Inflammation of the connective tissue that runs along the sole of the foot. This is most painful in the morning when taking first few steps. Women have a lower center of gravity which affects foot mechanics and tissue stress. Stretching, proper footwear, and intrinsic foot muscle strengthening are key factors to reduce risk of plantar fasciitis.

It’s no surprise that there are differences between men and women that influence training approach. In general, women are naturally more flexible and have better endurance than men. Women recover quicker and can take shorter breaks between sets of exercises. Therefore, it’s a good idea for women to emphasize strength and muscle development, while still including flexibility and endurance. Have a physical therapist help you discover your strengths and weaknesses and address accordingly.

As you launch 2017 as your strongest year ever–Keep the Determination, Add the Savvy. Come see a physical therapist at Excel Therapy Specialists where we can create a personalized fitness plan that is fun, effective, and safe. Achieve your 2017 goals with confidence and power, while reducing the risk of injury. At Excel Therapy, no physician referral is needed. Contact one of our 16 locations to get started today!

Molly Manuel, PT, DPT at Excel Therapy Chickasha

— Molly Manuel, PT, DPT at Excel Therapy Chickasha, OK

Prescription Pain Meds: The REAL pain in the neck.

If you’ve ever struggled with chronic pain, then you understand just how debilitating it can be. It can negatively impact physical and mental well-being, and can be a drain on personal relationships and overall satisfaction with life. Desperate for a cure, many sufferers are turning to prescription pain medication for relief. While this decision is most definitely warranted in many instances, the addition of physical therapy can also be very beneficial

Research shows that opioids may in fact increase a patient’s sensitivity to pain, making it even more likely to become dependent on them. It is for these reasons that Excel Therapy encourages and empowers patients to take control of their bodies by seeking alternatives for chronic pain management. At Excel Therapy, we employ a variety of techniques to treat chronic pain, ranging from manual therapy to more specialized treatment through dry needling and ASTYM therapy.

Are you experiencing pain and feel like you’ve tried everything under the sun? If you are prescribed prescription medication, we encourage you to also give physical therapy a try. Our innovative, highly trained therapists are standing by to answer your questions, provide a through examination, and offer a wide range of treatments to fit your needs.

The choice is in your hands. Choose PT!

Chiropractor vs. Physical Therapy: Which Option Do I Choose?

Should I see a chiropractor or seek physical therapy for my pain?

I have been a practicing Physical Therapist for 26 years. I am often asked, “Should I see a Chiropractor for my problem? Or, should I see a Physical Therapist?”

I have had the opportunity, over the years, to work with many skilled Chiropractors to treat and help patients recover from their injuries or movement dysfunctions. Depending on the type of problem which may be acute or chronic, spinal, or dealing with the extremities, the skill set or specialty of the Physical Therapist or Chiropractor, are what determines a successful outcome.

A Physical Therapist or Chiropractor, in my experience, can work together using their unique skills and area of specialty, to help all patients that have a spine or extremity problem.

The Chiropractor will typically treat with manual or mechanical adjustments/manipulations of the spine or extremities, to reduce dysfunction and pain. In addition, it is also common that the Chiropractor will utilize, but not be limited to heat, cold, massage, and electrical modalities, for  pain management.

The Physical Therapist will approach a patients problems by evaluating movement imbalances, strength, balance and pain assessment.  It is common practice that both the PT and Chiropractor’s treatment approach can overlap and be quite similar. In the end, both professional interventions can compliment each other for the purpose of helping the patients we treat.

In my opinion…communication, mutual respect for each others treatment skills, and understanding the patients needs, will determine a successful outcome for the patient.  When dealing patients that have spine injuries, I feel that there is a time that both professions can benefit the patient.

So back to the question, “Should I see a Physical Therapist or a Chiropractor?  I believe this should be answered by looking at the patients age, physical condition, or type of problem/injury. It is possible that both the PT and the Chiropractor would be beneficial for the patient.  The best advice would be to discuss the issues at hand, with your primary care physician or call one of the Physical Therapist at Excel for recommendations. Remember, we as professionals  are all working together to improve YOUR quality of life.

— Todd Petty, PT, Central Tulsa Excel Therapy Location