Gaining a Foothold on Recovery- A motivating environment at the Valparaiso Family YMCA inspired one patient to meet the challenge of physical therapy

Written by Contributor. Posted in Community News & People in the News, Featured

Published on April 18, 2018 with No Comments

By Christopher Sheid

Physical Therapist Brian Hoener watches as St. Mary Medical Center patient Jo Toigo-Tudor walks the treadmill as part of her physical therapy regimen following surgery for a broken ankle. Hoener provides physical therapy services at the St. Mary Medical Center clinic inside the Valparaiso Family YMCA. The clinic is part of the Valpo YMCA’s Better Together partnership with St. Mary Medical Center.

When Valparaiso resident Jo Toigo-Tudor broke her foot on a slippery wooden deck during a home improvement project, she knew even before seeing a doctor that surgery was probably in her immediate future. But it was her experience undergoing physical therapy at St. Mary Medical Center’s clinic at the Valparaiso Family YMCA that allowed Tudor to regain her normal active life.

“I’m very happy,” Toigo-Tudor says. “I have 95 percent of my range of motion back. I’m smiling now and I’m on the upswing. Physical therapy got me to where I am today, which I am very thankful for.”

Toigo-Tudor was not smiling on that fall day when an errant step sent her to the hospital.

Valparaiso resident Jo Toigo-Tudor works out her foot and ankle as part of her physical therapy regimen at St. Mary Medical Center’s Physical Therapy Clinic inside the Valparaiso Family YMCA. Toigo-Tudor had ankle surgery in 2016 and subsequently regained 95 percent of her range of motion following her physical therapy regimen.

“We were renovating our 100-year-old house,” she explains. “This will be our forever home and we had been working on it for more than a year. It had rained that morning, a very hard rain, but it was one of those funny days where the sun comes out afterward.”

“I was taking a hand cart and going down the steps with a whole load of kitchen tiles, just four steps that I’ve gone down a hundred times, and the rain made my tennis shoe slide (awkwardly), and the weightpulled me down so that my shin looked like it was on top of where my foot was. I looked down and said, ‘My foot looks like a scarecrow foot!”

An employee of St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart, Toigo-Tudor knew she had a team of experts-physicians and rehabilitation specialists-that she could rely on to help her get back on her feet again. Consultation with Community Care Network podiatrist Jared Moon, DPM, confirmed what she already suspected: her injury would require major surgery.

After a successful four-hour surgery Toigo-Tudor went home with her foot and ankle in a cast, but she discovered her journey had just begun. Once she recovered from surgery, it was time to begin physical therapy. Fortunately, St. Mary Medical Center and the Valparaiso Family YMCA had expanded their existing health and wellness partnership to include physical and aquatic therapy services at the Y’s facility, 1201 Cumberland Crossing Drive, close to her home.

Physical therapists at the Y work to develop individualized treatment plans to address specific functional needs with the goal of returning patients safely to their prior level of function. St. Mary Medical Center Outpatient Rehabilitation therapies, including physical therapy and aquatic therapy, can effectively integrate care for Joint Academy and Acute Rehabilitation Unit patients needing the next level of care after discharge from the hospital.

Toigo-Tudor said undergoing physical therapy at the conveniently located YMCA provided extra motivation that spurred her progress.

“I had been a member there before and forgot what it was like inside,” she says. “It wasn’t anything short of inspirational to walk in and see everybody caring and working out.”

Toigo-Tudor worked with certified physical therapist Brian Hoener, DPT.

“Brian was very positive and encouraged me,” she says. “I learned that if you don’t do your exercises properly, you’re not progressing. It’s important that you’re sitting straight or standing straight and using proper technique to get the most out of your therapy.”

Hoener said Toigo-Tudor was faithful in maintaining her routine in the clinic and at home, which was key to her success.

“Despite everything she has going on and despite how bad her day was or how much pain she was feeling, she always had a smile on her face,” he says. “I didn’t have to worry about her with regard to the exercise program and the restrictions and precautions pertaining to her injury.”

Hoener described physical therapy as a continuous learning process that requires active participation from the patient in order to succeed.

“Physical therapy isn’t just going to see the physical therapist once, twice, three times a week and then you’re done,” he explains. “Physical therapy is a total educational process. We want to empower you and to allow you to take control of your therapy.”

We’re Here to Help

St. Mary Medical Center’s Physical Therapy Clinic at the Valparaiso Family YMCA, 1201 Cumberland Crossing, can help verify insurance coverage and referral requirements. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 219-286-3890. Visit comhs.org/services/therapy-services/outpatient-therapy-services/physical-therapy for more information.

About the author:Christopher Sheid serves as Director of Marketing and Community Relations for St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart, one of three hospitals of Community Healthcare System. He is a Northwest Indiana native and a graduate of Valparaiso University. He is also a former journalist who has worked in marketing and public relations for 12 years. For more information, contact him directly at 219-947-6381.

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