Get moving, stay moving after injury

New approaches to physical therapy blend strength and conditioning with rehab

Over the last decade, research has demonstrated the importance of movement and staying active for maintaining overall health and wellness.

Sanford POWER’s Joshua Jordan reminds us that this remains true even for those who are injured and require physical therapy and rehab.

Jordan is a senior physical therapist who evaluates and treats patients with a variety of musculoskeletal impairments. His emphasis is on the rehabilitation of young athletes.

Passive vs. Active

“When going through physical therapy or any type of rehabilitation, the individual’s current capacity for activity is diminished,” Jordan said. “In order to increase capacity, the principles of strength and conditioning along with load management need to be considered.”

The blending of physical therapy and strength and conditioning is a relatively new approach to rehab. Within the last decade, experts have gained a better understanding about how the body actually learns, and the passive approaches that once dominated the profession are diminishing.

Earlier vs. Later

Physical therapists like Jordan deal with a variety of sports-related injuries. The initial stages of rehabilitation – immediately after injury – are quite similar across all injuries. It’s not until the athlete approaches the later stages of rehab that variation occurs.

“Consideration for sport and position are important,” Jordan said. “Soccer is a great example of this.  An athlete returning to goalkeeper is going to have a completely different capacity requirement than an athlete returning to forward position as a striker.”

Younger vs. Older

Blending physical therapy with strength training and conditioning is not only for young, recovering athletes. Individuals of all ages can benefit from this rehabilitation process. Theoretically, there should not be a difference between the rehabilitation of an older patient versus that of a younger patient. The principles are the same.

“This is where the physical therapy profession tends to fall behind when working with the elderly population,” Jordan said. “Most individuals don’t become frail because they continue to move. They become frail because they fail to move. The goals and principles of rehabilitation and training are the same.”

Sanford POWER is dedicated to educating and providing the tools to allow patients to return to their full potential. For more information on Sanford POWER, or to get in contact with therapists like Jordan, visit