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Sandy’s Aquatic Therapy “Hail Mary”

By: Allison R. Weder

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

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

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.