Sandy’s Aquatic Therapy “Hail Mary”

My whole world changed. I can age with dignity now. – Sandy Stacer

Sandy Stacer working with Caitlin Bearss, PT, DPT at Advanced PT – Davison

Hopeful to be pain free again, 84-year-old Sandy Stacer underwent a total knee replacement in June 2020. Being very active, she anticipated she would be back on her feet, playing with her grandchildren in no time. But a complication led to a tough decision. Her doctor suggested a second procedure because her recovery progress had slowed, and her flexibility was not improving. Sandy was worried the procedure would be too taxing, so she decided against it. Faced with the possibility of never getting back her full range of motion, Sandy began searching for options. A friend suggested Aquatic Therapy at Advanced Physical Therapy Center. Aquatic Therapy is available at Advanced PT Davison and Clarkston. The reduction of gravitational forces in the pool would allow Sandy to stand and do gait training and strengthening exercises without causing further damage to her healing joint and muscles. The water would also provide resistance and decreased pain sensitivity. Sandy described it as her “Hail Mary” and the next day, set up an evaluation with Caitlin Bearss, PT, DPT.

Sandy was determined but had one more hurdle to face. She was afraid of the water! Luckily, Advanced PT’s aquatic therapists are hands on and happy to get in the water with every patient for comfort and safety. Sandy’s fear was eased a bit and the hard work began.

Just two weeks into Aquatic Therapy, Sandy checked in with her doctor. Progress! Her range of motion had improved! She was almost back to a functional level. Caitlin and Sandy would not stop there. Their work continued at the Advanced PT pool where Sandy revealed, “I love the warm water…the atmosphere here is great. Everyone is so upbeat. I look forward to therapy.”

Sandy began her journey unable to play with her grandchildren, unable to get up and down from a chair without help, and unable to go up and down stairs. “It was very depressing,” Sandy recalled. Caitlin set a goal to give Sandy her life back and make sure she could do the things she wanted to do, again. Sandy says, “Caitlin has a way of convincing you to work harder; she’s very innovative.” The hard work paid off. Sandy is back, playing with her grandchildren, enjoying life, aging with dignity. And she did it without going back under anesthesia for another painful procedure.

Sandy says she tells everyone, “I recommend Advanced PT because the therapists are excellent and because of the outcomes!”

As a side note, Aquatic Therapy can be done 4-6 weeks post-surgery, once the incision is healed and your doctor agrees it can be submerged.  

Advanced PT Davison | 2138 Fairway Dr. | (810) 412-5100

Falls Prevention Awareness Week, 2020


Twenty five percent of seniors 65-85 years old will fall this year. Of those, 40% are likely to have multiple falls over the course of the year, and more than 200,000 people fractured their hips in a fall last year alone!

Those are some grim statistics, but the good news is that there is help available. Advanced Physical Therapy Center has a fall prevention treatment plan, and it’s one that is helping patients stay on their feet.

Many times, the number one reason someone has been moved into a nursing home is because of a fall.  Patients can reduce their risk of falling by making some changes at home and by letting us help them make their bodies stronger.

FIRST STEP:  Identify why the patient would fall. Is it because of poor vision, vertigo, medication, osteoporosis, or another medical condition? At Advanced PT, therapists will spend some time coaching patients on how to describe their falls and near falls. One technique that is helpful to patients is to keep a journal of times when falling or near falls occur. This can help identify any potential problems.

SECOND STEP:  Safe proof your home. Advanced PT therapists will help with suggestions about how small changes in the home can help reduce the risk of falling. These may include:

· Remove loose rugs

· Add nightlights

· Eliminate clutter

THIRD STEP:  Individualized exercise plan. At the core of this phase of the program are a series of exercises that will help patients strengthen their muscles and increase flexibility. These two areas will develop balance and coordination. In addition Advanced PT therapists will custom-tailor a full prevention program for the whole family.

Advanced PT’s Falls Prevention Program is available to anyone. Contact one of our clinics to schedule a consultation with one of our therapists today and prevent your loved one from an injury.  

Grand Blanc | 10809 S. Saginaw Street | (810) 695-8700

Clio | 303 S. Mill Street | (810) 687-8700

Flint | G-2241 S. Linden Road | (810) 732-8400

Davison | 2138 Fairway Dr. | (810) 412-5100

Goodrich | 7477 State Rd. | (810) 636-8700

Hartland | 11182 Highland Rd. | (810) 632-8700

Clarkston | 6167 White Lake Rd. | (248) 620-4260

Waterford | 6650 Highland Rd. | (248) 618-3050

Back in the Spotlight with Help from Advanced PT

My Mom and I didn’t think I’d dance again. But coming here and using BFR, now I’m back and better than ever!

– Addie Latimer, 12-Year-Old Advanced Patient

12-year-old Addison Latimer, or Addie as she’s called, bounces into Advanced PT, fresh from school. She hops on an exercise bike and begins to pedal. You’d never know, just 2 months earlier, a major injury left her unable to walk without crutches. Richelle, Addie’s Mom, shares what happened during what she describes as a goof-off night at dance class: “She did a kick and hyper-extended her left knee. Her kneecap popped out and popped right back in.” But the action shaved off a piece of cartilage, leaving her unable to bend her knee. On December 30th, Addie had surgery. The surgeon had hoped to put the cartilage back in place, but it just wasn’t possible. She’d be placed on a waiting list for donor cartilage and another repair surgery down the road.

Reality began to set in. Addie could barely walk, and she certainly couldn’t do one of her most favorite things in the world: DANCE! The orthopedic surgeon recommended physical therapy to help strengthen Addie’s leg and get her walking again. The Latimers didn’t know what to expect, but they had hope after hearing a friend had gotten back to dance after PT. Addie took the challenge head-on, knowing a physical therapist had the expertise to help her reach her long-term goal: to dance again.

Richelle recalls the first visits were rough, saying “the muscle loss was shocking. She couldn’t lift her leg.” Addie started with traditional therapy techniques. Then, moved on to Blood Flow Restriction Training or BFR. BFR is a rehabilitation process of performing exercises while reducing the blood supply to certain muscles using a cuff, similar to a blood pressure cuff. It rebuilds muscle and restores strength quicker. It’s a technique perfect for post-surgical patients. Richelle read about BFR, checked with her doctor, and decided it would be a good thing for Addie to try.

The BFR cuff on Addie’s right leg helps to rebuild muscle and strength quicker.

Addie would put a BFR cuff around her leg for the first time on a Friday afternoon. She was a little hesitant, saying “it hurt a little bit and then I got used to it and it was fine.” After a tiring session, Addie and her mom went home. Saturday morning, Richelle caught some movement out of the corner of her eye. It was Addie. After one BFR session, Addie had ditched the crutches and was walking across the family room. Richelle couldn’t believe it!

After several more weeks of therapy, fast forward to February 8th. That day, a little over 5 weeks post-surgery, Addie danced in a competition! Addie continues to improve and dance every day, and with a smile says, “I was happy to do PT. They know what they’re doing. It’s not just for old people. It really does help you. It’s cool to come and get better so quickly.”

Advanced Physical Therapy Center | | (810)695-8700