Welcome Kortney Smith, PT, DPT to the Advanced Physical Therapy Center Team

Even as a high school student, Kortney Smith, PT, DPT, wanted to be a physical therapist.  A severe injury to her arm sent her to physical therapy for six months.  Because of the impact the physical therapist made on her, Kortney decided to make physical therapy her career.  She started as a technician in 2011 and worked in the field while she attended college.  She received her doctoral degree in physical therapy from Oakland University in 2016.

Her special interests include treating pediatric orthopedic conditions, sports-related injuries, lumbar and cervical conditions, and post-operative joint replacement.  During her time as a student, Kortney was able to learn several orthopedic manual therapy techniques, which she feels has given her a good base of knowledge in addition to her degree.  Her future goal is to continue her education by attending professional physical therapy courses and obtaining  field-specific certifications.  She also hopes to be an instructor.  “I want to be able to teach and guide physical therapy students just as my instructors did for me,” said Kortney.

smith_kortney-12-2016In her practice, Kortney considers making her patients feel like they are number one her main priority.  ”I enjoy talking to patients and learning about their everyday lives.  I think it helps to put the best plan of care together,” says Kortney.  One of her favorite patient success stories is a patient she treated who had bilateral partial knee replacements and was very determined to get back to work teaching her special education students.  “She was always talking about how she missed her kids and wanted to get back to teaching them.  We did everything we could to get her back to work.  By the time she was discharged, she could do everything she wanted to do and was even able to take her students on a ski trip!” stated Kortney.

When you ask Kortney what she likes about being a physical therapist, she will tell you, “I enjoy helping people. It is really rewarding to have people come in with pain or difficulties and leave feeling pain-free and able to do the things they love to do again.”

Kortney practices out of Advanced Physical Therapy Center’s Davison location.  “I am excited to join the team!  Everyone here is so passionate about their job and helping patients get better,” said Kortney.  She is originally from Capac, but now lives in Lapeer with her two furry babies (dogs), Asher and Phoenix.  She is engaged to her wonderful fiancé, Jesse, and they plan on marrying in the fall of 2017.  In her spare time, she visits the gym three to five times a week and enjoys the outdoors, gardening, bonfires, shopping,

Creating Success Stories One Patient at a Time

When you are twenty-five, you have your whole life ahead of you.  The world is your oyster with so many possibilities.  But we all know, life can throw you a curve ball and can change direction quickly.

Jordyn Burgess is patient from our Clio clinic and her story is one that will amaze and inspire you.  Jordyn suffered a horrific degloving accident and a crushing injury to her entire right arm.  As a result of the injury, Jordyn has had 16 surgeries and procedures on her hand, arm, elbow, and shoulder.  She has been in extensive physical and occupational therapy since the accident happened on August 5, 2013, sometimes as often as five times a week.  This is Jordyn’s story.

jordyn-burgess-clio-patient-success-storyJordyn Burgess was attending college at Wayne State University in Detroit and found a job that offered tuition assistance.  The job was working for a trenchless underground pipeline rehab contractor manufacturing water and sewage pipe liners.  She was the first female in the company’s history hired to work on the line as a laborer.

Jordyn is no stranger to hard work and getting dirty.  She grew up in a very small farming community with her triplet sisters, mother and stepfather.  Jordyn considered herself a tomboy growing up and would take on any challenge just like the boys.  She also served in the military.  “I have always enjoyed hunting and fishing and loved sports,” says Burgess.

While working on the line on August 5th, Jordyn’s tool got caught in the pinch roller machine she was operating, pulling her arm through an 8-10 millimeter gap within seconds.  Jordyn’s co-workers rushed over to stop the machine, and her manager, quickly, made a tourniquet to stop the heavy bleeding.  If a couple more seconds had gone by, she would have been pulled into the machine further and likely killed.  “I was really hoping to pass out, because the pain was unbelievably horrible.–So intense!  I remember seeing and hearing my arm getting pulled in and crushed and my skin tearing.  My co-workers didn’t want me to see the damage, shouting ‘Don’t let her look at her arm!’ When I peered through the machine’s gap, all I could see was a flattened limb and a pile of skin that was pulled off to one side of my upper arm and blood everywhere,” states Burgess.  After waiting 18 minutes for the ambulance to arrive, Jordyn was rushed to the hospital, where doctors worked to save her arm.  In the meantime, her company contacted her family telling them her arm would have to be amputated.  Fortunately, the doctors were able to save it.

Jordyn’s accident isn’t the only close call she encountered that day.  During her hospital stay, she went into full respiratory failure and began entering into cardiac arrest due to a complication with the medications she was given.  Her sisters were able to get the attention of the doctors and staff just in time to provided emergency resuscitation efforts to save her life.

Jordyn had damage to all her major nerves in her arm and roughly 75 percent of her arm had no sensation.  She couldn’t bend her elbow, use her hand, or lift her arm.  Even though she had little sensation and function, she had extreme pain.  Her doctors inserted a small catheter into her neck to create a continuous nerve block that was connected to a battery pack, monitor and medication pouch, all carried in a satchel, which she wore for three months.

Prior to the accident, Jordyn was right handed, so she had to learn to do everything with her left hand.  “You would be surprised at how resourceful and creative you can become when you only have one arm to use,” stated Jordyn.  “Before all this, I was in the military.  I loved the outdoors and was extremely active.  The accident was crippling.  I was fiercely independent and had a hard time asking for help.  My family, especially my sisters, knew that this was going to be a huge challenge for me.  At one point in my recovery, I was in so much pain, and my arm was still so useless.  I had doubts about ever regaining full function.  I asked my doctors to amputate my arm and give me a prosthetic limb.  That seemed a lot easier at the time. Thankfully, they didn’t listen to me.”

Jordyn’s first experience with Advanced Physical Therapy Center was with Shelley Hanchett, PT, CHT out of our Clio clinic.  “Jordyn is amazing.  She has worked very hard to overcome her devastating injuries.   Every time she was feeling down, frustrated with her slow recovery and healing, she somehow found the courage to keep going and has persevered,” says Hanchett about her experience working with Jordyn.  Jordyn also had several months of physical and occupational therapy with another clinic in Dearborn. Others in her recovery team included Ouida Brown, OTRL and Jill Ivy, PTA.  “Everyone at Advanced Physical Therapy Center is fantastic!  They’re encouraging, positive and they make you feel comfortable right away.  I have developed a genuine friendship with these people, and I love to come to therapy.  No one babied me.  They gave me tough love, which is what I needed.  Otherwise, I would not be where I am today,” says Jordyn.  “In the beginning, I was depressed. I was frustrated and embarrassed with my limitations. Shelley was there to listen to me and help me.  I’m not sure how many times I cried in front of her. It was almost like I had a counselor.”

Jordyn still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and is going to counseling regularly.  “I remember feeling sorry for myself, quite often, for the first couple months.  Then, I happened to see a documentary about war veteran, Staff Sergeant Travis Mills, who is a quadruple amputee.  I thought to myself, ‘Jordyn, things could be a lot worse. At least you have your arm. There are so many things to be thankful for!’, and that kicked me out of my pity party real quick.  I started volunteering at a local animal shelter and fostered a very malnourished and neglected dog.  It helped me tremendously,” said Burgess.

Jordyn has a third of her strength back, and doctors are shocked at how much function and range of motion she has regained.  Though she still has some limitations, she is now able to bend her elbow, raise her arm, and has returned to being right-handed with most things.  “It feels great getting some of my normal life back.  To look at me now, you wouldn’t know that the accident ever happened, with the exception of my scars,” said Jordyn.

After the accident, Jordyn had to put college on hold and was not able to work. Because she wasn’t in school, her student loan bills kicked in, which took an enormous financial toll on her.  The procedures, surgeries, appointments, and therapy took up most of her time, and the pain and limitations made life very difficult.  Fortunately, Jordyn is now back in school finishing her bachelor’s degree with a goal of getting a master’s degree in behavioral and cognitive neuroscience.  She is hoping for a career at a university, teaching and working in a research lab.

“I am so thankful for my doctors and the staff at APTC.  Without them, I don’t know where I would be,” said Jordyn.

Experts Warn About Elbow Injuries in Youth Pitchers

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) warns that millions of little leaguers are putting themselves at risk for injury in their attempt to throw the fastest and farthest.

It has been estimated that 2.2 million children between the ages of 4 and 16 are participating in baseball annually.  Kids between the ages of 9 and 14 who throw breaking balls, pitch in showcases to display their skills and fundamentals, or, more importantly, pitch too frequently without adequate rest, are the most vulnerable to injury.

sports-1431640__340Pitcher’s Elbow is a chronic inflammation of the growth plate on the elbow joint, which manifests itself as pain and swelling inside the elbow. Approximately 50% of little leaguers ages 9 to 14 will experience elbow pain.  Those who continue to pitch through the pain can eventually cause the growth plate to separate from the joint, requiring surgery to re-attach it.

Routinely players will go from a game in one league to a practice or game in another league and pitch on back-to-back days. If coaches on both teams are unaware of the fact that the pitcher just pitched for another league, there will be a misrepresentation of league pitch counts and a subsequent increase to one’s risk for injury.

It is important for players and parents to let their coaches know if they have been pitching in multiple events and if they are experiencing pain.

The following risk factors contribute to pitcher’s elbow:
  • Age. Youth baseball players are at greater risk because their elbow joint (bones, growth plates, and ligaments) are not fully developed and are more susceptible to overuse injuries.
  • Pitching too many games.  The number of games pitched should be carefully monitored and follow the league’s pitch count rules.  If pain occurs before the pitch count limit is reached, then the player should stop immediately. Rotating pitchers during games is a good idea to ensure adequate rest is given to each pitcher.
  • Curveballs and breaking pitches. Both of these types of pitches appear to put more stress on the growth plate than other types of pitches.
  • Improper mechanics. Proper throwing mechanics decreases forces on the elbow joint.
How can a physical therapist help?
Physical therapists are experts in restoring and improving mobility and motion in people’s lives, and eliminating pain. For young baseball players, this means a physical therapist can work with you to help prevent pitcher’s elbow from occurring, and recover if it has occurred.
In addition to following the guidelines for pitch counts and recommendations for rest, a physical therapist can help baseball players prevent the occurrence of pitcher’s elbow by teaching them stretching and strengthening exercises that are individualized for their specific needs. Everybody is different, which means pitcher’s elbow may occur for different reasons for each person. A physical therapist can help a player recover, by designing an individualized treatment plan to regain range of motion, flexibility, and strength.
Justin Brown, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS
Justin Brown is a doctor of physical therapist and is a certified athletic trainer and strength justin-brownand conditioning specialist.  Justin specializes in treating athletes, and during his practice, Justin focuses on increasing strength, endurance, and power. He teaches athletes how to use proper muscle activation, neuromuscular control and synergism to get the most out of their bodies safely.  He is level one certified in fascial movement training and has attended several seminars covering the topic of the overhead throwing phase in athletics. These seminars provide in-depth knowledge of the entire body during the overhead throwing motion phase.  Justin practices out of our Clio clinic and is available for free consultations. Call him at (810) 687-8700 or email him at JBrown@advpt.com.


Resources:  American Physical Therapy Association, Pitcher’s Elbow,http://moveforwardpt.com, 8/28/2012.