Monthly THE CULMINATION OF A 19-YEAR CAREER
2018 is here, and as crazy as it seems that another year has come and gone, it’s the ideal opportunity to look back and take stock of how I got to where I am today. It’s been a long journey, but I’m thrilled I’ve made it this far in my life, both personally and professionally. When I graduated from USC in 1998 and earnestly began my career in physical therapy, it was a time of much change in the profession. I was a member of the first graduating class coming out of school with clinical doctorates instead of master’s degrees. My peers and I were at the forefront of the evolution of physical therapy, changing the landscape of how things were done. From the very beginning, I knew I wanted to specialize in orthopedic and sports physical therapy. I moved to Los Gatos and took a job at OPTM Los Gatos, which is independently owned and operated and separate from OPTM Saratoga. For the first six years of my career, I remained at OPTM Los Gatos, learning all I could about every methodology and technique I could use to steer my patients toward full recoveries. In 2004, I was itching for more responsibility and a greater reach, so my former boss and I entered into a five-year contract and opened up OPTM Saratoga. We took time to drive around separately and find a good space for the clinic. And wouldn’t you know it, we picked the exact same location, right on Saratoga Avenue. We took this as a sign. But even more, I loved that I was now working in the town where I’d grown up and gone to high school, a place steeped in memories for me. The first week after we opened our doors, we saw probably five patients total. But as word got out, the practice began to grow. As managing partner, it was my responsibility to track the day-to-day operations and build a team that could deliver real, lasting results to our patients as we steadily expanded. In ‘09, my contract with my business partner ended, and I assumed sole ownership of the practice. With consistent growth, I honed not only my leadership and management skills, but my talents as a therapist, as well.
In 2012, I embarked on a yearlong clinical fellowship focused on three-dimensional movement of the body — viewing it as a cohesive system with interlocking parts, as opposed to isolated components. When I exited the fellowship, I was equipped with a host of brand-new strategies, which led to many more successful outcomes for even the most difficult patient conditions. For the first time, I felt like a true master of the profession and strove to share the knowledge with my entire staff. In 2014, as our reputation took hold in the community, we outgrew our old space and migrated to a larger facility at Quito Village. What started as a company made up
Fabrice - USC Doctor of Physical Therapy, 1998
of me and one other guy, with merely a handful of patients, has transformed into an operation including over 20 team members, with a high volume of patients overcoming pain and injury. In the past few years, and in 2017 in particular, it’s become clear to me that, despite my 19 years in the profession, my skills might be served better in areas other than patient care. As we move into the new year, I’m beginning to step away from seeing patients, focusing rather on managing the business and becoming more involved in the community. Through Rotary Club and the Age- Friendly Committee, I give back where I can. It’s been a challenge to assume an executive managerial role in the practice and only treat patients part-time, but I truly believe it’s best for everyone. This way, instead of being torn between the million managerial tasks I have on my plate and patient care, I can help educate my talented team to achieve even better results. I already miss treating patients directly full-time, communicating with them over weeks to help them surmount whatever obstacle brought them in. After all, they’re the reason I got into this profession in the first place. But I know as OPTM Saratoga evolves and I focus on the systems and tools that make it
even better, I’m serving a wider array of patients by extension. With this in mind, 2018 is already looking like it will be one of the best years yet. Dr. Fabrice Rockich
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Te s t i mo n i a l Don’t Just Take Our Word for It
“I have been going to OPTM Saratoga regularly for the past six years. They were recommended by my sports medicine doctor at SOAR. I have seen them for a variety of issues surrounding motor vehicle accidents and sports injuries. “Although I have seen the majority of their therapists, I continue to regularly see Robert, Todd, and Fabrice. I cannot say enough positive things regarding the crew, especially Robert. I tend to be demanding, wanting to understand the issues and wanting to know what I need to do to rehabilitate myself and prevent future injuries. “I am active and in my 50s. I need to work out smarter, and OPTM has been a key element in this journey. I could have been paralyzed by pain, but through our efforts, this has not occurred. I am training for a marathon and doing other athletic sports. The reason why I say ‘we’ is that it must be a joint effort. They work with you and give you the information to be successful. Ultimately, it is the individual who has to carry it to its conclusion. “Again, I like the fact they explain in great detail what the issues are, what is causing them, and what I need to do to eliminate or manage the circumstances. They also discuss their findings with your doctor, and, in some cases, that results in a better diagnosis. “An additional benefit I have utilized is their other programs. They have a monthly gym program for a fee that permits you to utilize their equipment to continue the rehabilitation process. The therapists are there to answer questions and maybe tweak what you need to do. I also like the fact that they email the routine to you so you can do the exercises at home. This is important since I do not remember every detail they provide during the session, and it provides a long-term reference document. They also do wellness appointments. When I finally recovered from an injury, I wanted advice relative to maintaining a particular sport. Insurance would not cover it, but they saw me and analyzed my form and made recommendations to improve strength and flexibility for the specific sport. “Finally, they have a golf analysis program through Fabrice. It was nice to have my body mechanics evaluated as they relate to golf. It took into account my personal strengths and weaknesses and provided solutions to improve my game. “I also don’t want to forget their front office. They are always pleasant and very efficient. I like the way they keep me informed and track the number of visits. Plus, they work with the insurance companies.” –Daniel E.
The Most Common Source of Foot Pain
Do you experience sharp, radiating pain in the bottom of your foot when you first wake up in the morning? Does the pain reappear after a long period spent sitting, like after a day of work? Do you find that your foot pain goes away after a walk, but reappears later at night? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may suffer from plantar fasciitis, one of the most common sources of foot pain in America, and one of the most persistent. Since we use them every day, it’s easy to take our feet for granted. But when every step is painful, it becomes impossible to ignore. So, what causes it in the first place? Our feet take a lot of abuse, supporting hundreds of pounds of pressure every day. Though it seems like a simple appendage, the foot is as complicated as anything else in our body, composed of a complex structure of muscle and bone. Beneath the entire thing is a supportive band of thick ligament tissue called the plantar fascia, which keeps your arch stable. But if this band becomes strained, either through overuse, trauma, or inflexibility, it can become inflamed, causing pain near the bottom of your heel. The disorder is highly common in the United States, with some estimates claiming that as much as 10 percent of the population will suffer from plantar fascia dysfunction sometime in their lives. Though pain is unlikely to subside of its own accord, it’s almost always treatable through a simple regimen of physical therapy, administrated by an experienced professional. Most exercises and treatments center around increasing flexibility in the tendons of the foot, reducing friction and dysfunction. But, as with most injuries, there are usually contributing factors that spread beyond the actual location of the pain, such as the ankles, calves, and other leg muscles. A physical therapist can determine the root cause of the issue and work with you to eliminate it at the source.
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Ringing in the New Year
with the OPTM Team
It’s been an eventful year for all of us at the OPTM clinic. That’s why last month, we asked our team three questions about 2017:
1. What’s the most exciting thing that happened to you in 2017?
2. What’s changed in your life in the past year?
3. What are you most excited about for 2018?
Here’s how they responded, in no particular order.
Robert Lucente (Physical Therapist) Last year my wife, Karen, and I found out that we will be adding a second child to our family, a baby boy, in March 2018! My daughter, Aria, turned 2 and began impersonating the Energizer Bunny. When she’s awake, there’s no time to take a break. My hours outside the clinic consist mostly of going to the park, taking walks, reading books, building castles, doing puzzles, singing, dancing, jumping, and my favorite — tickling! Baby Lucente should arrive sometime in late March. Our excitement and anxiousness is off the charts. Todd Rollins (Physical Therapist) In 2017, I traveled to Peru to hike the Inca Trail and visit Machu Picchu! Back home, I got a new roommate. In 2018, I’m excited to travel to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Iceland, and for the arrival of my first nephew, due January 5th. Benjamin Turner (Physical Therapist, Clinical Director) I’ve been busy with my new role as clinical director. I also got a new golden retriever named Indie in late 2016 and started a big bathroom remodeling project. Right now, I’m just looking forward to helping OPTM get even better! Celina Wildemann (Physical Therapist) 2017 has been huge for me because I passed the PT boards and secured my first job as a licensed physical therapist! In 2018, I’m planning to travel, explore more of California, and head to a few friends’ weddings! Jamie Clausen (Physical Therapist) I got to take my son to Disneyland for the first time, which was a magical experience. He had the time of his life, and as a parent, that’s what matters. My patients shared their incredible stories and journeys, enhancing my empathy and understanding. I love that I am able to touch the hearts of so many people, but I’d like my patients to know how much they touch my heart, as well. In 2018, I plan to complete my certification for myofascial decompression and work toward my Pilates mat certification. In terms of family life, I look forward to having a few weekend getaways to the beach. Michelle Campbell (Front Office Administrator) 2017 has been a whirlwind year for me. A lot of things have changed. I got engaged, started my new position at OPTM, got married, and moved to a new home! In the midst of all these changes, I honestly
haven’t begun to think about 2018, though I’m looking forward to my new nephew’s arrival and whatever else life has in store!
Phil Edwards (Physical Therapist) Last year, my family and I took our first trip to the beautiful Hawaiian island of Kauai. We went paddle boarding, snorkeling, hiking in Waimea canyon, ate a lot of shaved ice, and watched some incredible sunsets. I look forward to more moments like these in 2018. Shauna Manibusan (Office Manager) In 2017, I seized the opportunity to travel to many places: Hawaii, Portugal, Disneyland, Napa, Morro Bay, and more. This year, I look forward to planning more trips, especially to Ireland. You only live once, and I plan to take advantage of every minute! Celeste Kaashoek (Physical Therapy Aide) In 2018, I’m embarking on a new life adventure, moving to Amsterdam to pursue an education in physiotherapy and reconnect with extended family. I’ll definitely miss my OPTM family, but I’m excited to move out of my parents’ house and start something for myself. Reyna David (Physical Therapist) 2017 has been packed with new adventures. My oldest child started elementary school and joined her dance studio’s performing company, so I became a kindergarten room mom and a dance mom, too! Meanwhile, my youngest child began his last year of preschool, and I entered into the last year being on the board of directors there. We also took family trips to Hawaii, Big Sur, Disneyland, San Diego, Mexico, and I took a solo trip to Scotland with three of my good friends from PT school. I’m looking forward to 2018 and whatever it may bring. Laura Barker (Physical Therapy Assistant) I spent much of last year working to become a fellow of Applied Functional Science. It was a 40-week journey, filled with hours and hours of study. I also spent a few days in New York, San Diego, and towns along the Central Coast. Next year, I hope to travel to Europe or back to the East Coast and pursue further education related to nutrition and posture. Nick Kniefel (Physical Therapist) The biggest event of 2017 was finishing my fellowship of Applied Functional Science. My toddler began running and climbing, so that’s crazy! Next year, I’m excited to continue to grow as a clinician, take a backpacking trip to Shasta or Whitney, and watch my little guy keep on learning!
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ESCAPE TO Nicaragua After the hectic holiday season, many of us feel like we need another vacation just to unwind. Luckily, January and February are two of the best months to travel. Flight prices plummet and crowds thin out after the Christmas rush. If you’re looking to escape the dreary winter weather, there’s no better place to visit this season than Nicaragua, the “Central American country that has it all,” as Condé Nast Traveler puts it. Whether you’re looking to explore the rainforests surrounding the Río San Juan or get lost in the quirky-yet-beautiful architecture of Granada, there’s something for everyone in this tropical wonderland. One must-see destination is the Cerro Negro volcano. Just a baby at 150 years old, it’s one of the most active volcanoes in the region. It only takes about an hour to scale its smoking, black gravel surface, and the verdant forests surrounding the peak are a sight to behold. Adventurous travelers can board down the side, reaching ludicrous speeds as they teeter and try not to fall. In fact, it’s almost impossible to travel anywhere in the country without seeing an “I boarded a volcano” T-shirt. If relaxing on a pearlescent beach is more your speed, take a short boat trip out to the Corn Islands. There, you can amble around the small towns bordering the shockingly blue Pacific, visit a number of laid- back seafood restaurants, get scuba certified for a fraction of the price
anywhere else in the world, or just read your book as you swing in a hammock by the waves.
You can also visit the gorgeous, alabaster Our Lady of Grace Cathedral in “new” Léon. The biggest church in all of Central America, this unique Baroque and neoclassicist structure was built in 1814. Visitors can climb onto its roof (as long as they don’t wear shoes) and bask in the view of surrounding volcanoes (including Cerro Negro). If you’re planning on heading to Nicaragua, it’s best to do it soon. Neighbor Costa Rica often overflows with tourists, and instead of wading through the crowds there, many travelers are catching on to what Nicaragua has to offer.
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