Bouncin' around (img: Edward Decroce)

As many of you already know, I am capable of some pretty agile physical feats. Promoters regularly book me to dance and bounce around on Power Risers—pogo stilts in laymen terms. Consequently, when I recently hobbled into 303’s fifth annual Hair Show on crutches, most naturally assumed I’d injured myself on height enhancements. And many laughed when I revealed the truth behind my strained ligament—that it’d actually happened during a yoga class, an activity ostensibly designed to prevent injuries in other fields. The fact that headstands were involved didn’t necessarily lessen the irony.

As you might guess, October is one of the busiest months of the year for a seasoned performer. Halloween can mean decent money. When the initial injury happened on October sixth, I immediately realized it was bad timing. I don’t really have a primary care physician, though, so I procrastinated a few days before thinking about getting it checked out. Someone eventually suggested I call a chiropractor, so I did just that. Dr. Michelle Clark sent me to Advanced Medical Imaging for X-rays. Fortunately, nothing was fractured, but I’d accidentally aggravated it moving a mattress the day before. It was at this point that I broke out my old crutches to temporarily aid mobility.

The time had come to step up the rehab ante. For the next and essential phase, I turned to Genesis Physical Therapy in Cherry Creek. Only two weeks remained before my next stilt gig and I needed as much professional guidance and direction as possible. It was decided I would go in at least three times a week until showtime. My program would involve a multifaceted approach that included massage, pelvic alignment, exercise homework, education on crutch usage and Pilates. Genesis takes a similarly unique approach with all their patients. I was ready—excited even—to be proactive with my recovery.

Pilates with Lisa (img: Elena Karpeisky)

My first session was on a Monday. Elena Karpeisky, a part-time physical therapist at Genesis, was in charge of me on day one. Manual therapy—basically a kind of specialized massage—was administered first to help reduce the swelling around my ankle. Considering I’d been hobbling around on crutches for a few days (and possibly limping some even prior to that), it wasn’t surprising that my pelvis was out of alignment. Correcting it, in order to normalize my gait, was the next step. Activating core stabilizer muscles was after that, and necessary to keep my pelvis in alignment. When I sprained my ankle, my fibula apparently shifted forward under the pull of ligaments. Karpeisky taped my ankle to mobilize my fibula, take stress off the strained ligament and enable greater range of motion. Finally, I saddled up on a Pilates reformer for light range of motion exercises. She sent me on my way with some ankle exercise assignments and a few tips on how to best benefit from the crutches.

The rest of my sessions involved a variety of activities. Anyone that’s ever had a good foot massage can attest to the extreme pleasure of the experience. George Aguirre, a resident massage therapist at Genesis (not to mention black belt in Tae Kwon Do), worked my handicapped foot with his hands. Clinical Director Todd Ball schooled me on ankle mechanics and movement, as well as the business philosophy of Genesis, capable of catering to both insurance and out-of-pocket patients. And aerial fabric performer Megan Fahey and Wellness Coordinator Lisa Tanguma taught the small group Pilates classes. Less than two weeks later, I donned an owl costume, buckled into my pogo stilts and danced in the street for kids at Highland Haunt. I serenaded Boo & Brewers in the Bluebird District and debuted my new praying mantis costume at The Collective’s Haunted Hotel block party in DTC later that same day. I credit Genesis Physical Therapy with giving me the knowledge and confidence to stage my superhero comeback.

Reformer behavior (img: Elena Karpeisky)

From Genesis’ website:

“Genesis aspires to be a pioneer in the next generation of healthcare companies by providing transparency in cost of services and clinical expectations; accountability on behalf of the organization by consistently providing the highest quality of service; expectations placed on the client to change unhealthy behaviors with wellness centered behaviors and habits.”

They may not be miracle workers, but they’ve got a smart business model that’s well suited to the changing health care landscape.

Genesis Physical Therapy
300 South Jackson Street #330
(303) 393.1600

George Peele enjoys strapping on height enhancers and aurally ambushing strangers. He is Music Features Editor for 303’s print edition. Keep your eyes peeled for November interviews with Robert Plant’s favorite Denver troubadour–Nathaniel Rateliff–as well as Watercourse/City O’ City big (soy) cheese Dan Landes.