|This has nothing to do with anything.|
Athletic Trainers, I'm learning, are more and more open to new techniques and research. They are moving beyond taping, ice and e-stim as a way to keep athletes healthy. More and more they are paying attention to things like the Functional Movement Screen and the work of Dr. Stuart McGill. There are also many more Athletic Trainers who are picking up on the benefits of soft-tissue work; ART, Graston and Trigger Point Therapy (to name a few).
Now, we come to Physical Therapists. Because their card starts with "Dr." everybody assumes they know everything about everything. With a few notable exceptions like Dr. McGill, Mike Reinold and Kelly Starrett it is getting pretty hard to find a PT who will think outside of the box.
I doubt it.
What makes any health professional think that every similar case can be solved the same way? Can every ACL tear really be fixed with the same print out? Why is it that more PT's don't take a patient-by-patient approach? I have a sneaking suspicion it has to do with their connection to the health care/insurance system. Due to their fear of losing all the income generated by Doctor referrals, PT's are too nervous to try any new modalities.
A recent conversation between myself and a PT friend regarding an athlete of mine sparked these thoughts. This particular athlete puts in a ton of miles running every week, in addition to my weight training program. She had been having some general anterior knee pain post-run and asked us (individually) about it. My suggestion was to ice, tone down her mileage and lighten the load a bit during her knee-dominant lower-body exercises (squats, lunges, etc). The PT's suggestion? Stop squatting, or stop squatting with a full range of motion. Without ever having seen her squat (I taught her) he automatically assumed it was the squat causing the problem. He also did this without reading the plethora of recent research which shows that partial range of motion squats exert more stress on the anterior portion of the knee capsule than full range squats which increase capsular stabilization at end-range. While I feel that this friend is an exceptional PT, he still tends to follow the dogmatic principles of a traditional therapist.
Clearly, PT's are a necessity. They do lot's of good work that other health professionals can't do. I, by no means, intend to belittle their profession. But if you are an athlete, a weight lifter or an active individual and need to go see a PT please make sure you do your homework. They are not all cut from the same cloth, and you need to make sure yours has views that fall in line with your own goals.
Take care. Go lift some heavy shit!