Guest Author: Alexis Bonari – 5 Benefits of Vibram FiveFingers in Physical Therapy

physical therapy patientIf you’re a physical therapist, chances are that you’ve heard of the Vibram FiveFingers craze. Take one look at these shoes, and you’ll think they’re just the next contestant in the recent string of shoes designed to look “unique” for people who would rather look fit than be fit.

I can tell you that Vibrams don’t fall into that category. I’ve had my Vibram FiveFinger Trek Sports for three months and I literally can’t wait to put them on every day when I get home from work. I only run about nine miles a week in them, but when I’m out there on the trails, I can’t believe how great it feels to be wearing these shoes. They have a wide range of health benefits that don’t just affect my feet – my whole body feels more natural when I wear them, and the old aches and pains I used to experience are slowly fading away.

Here are the five main benefits of wearing Vibrams. You might have some patients who could make better progress with these shoes, so take a look to find out whether or not you should recommend them.

  1. Building Strength in Targeted Muscle Groups
    For patients who have suffered injuries in their feet or legs and are on the path to recovery, Vibrams can provide the potential to build muscle strength in atrophied regions more effectively. They stimulate and strengthen muscles in the feet and lower legs, which reduces the risk of future injury while improving general foot health. Patients who are almost ready to “graduate” from physical therapy could benefit strongly from the injury prevention aspect of Vibrams.
  2. Improving Range of Motion
    Because Vibrams separate the wearer’s toes, a whole new range of motion is opened up. Most shoes constrict the foot and impair natural motion, but Vibrams encourage the body to move without constraints. This helps the foot and toes to move more naturally. You can check out a story here from a patient who went through ankle surgery, then started wearing Vibrams after his physical therapist recommended them. He now enjoys an improved range of motion in the previously injured ankle.
  3. Increasing Agility & Balance
    These shoes stimulate neural function, causing thousands of neurological receptors in the feet to send important information to the brain. As a result of this phenomenon, balance and agility are improved naturally. Many patients struggle with balance when recovering from an injury, and that’s one of my favorite things about Vibrams: their ability to help with this crucial step toward recovery.
  4. Aligning Spine & Improving Posture
    As I mentioned above, my aches and pains (which were mostly in my hips and lower back) have all but disappeared after three months of wearing Vibrams. These shoes lower the heel during walking and running, which helps to distribute body weight evenly across the foot bed. This contributes to improved posture and spinal alignment.
  5. Enabling All-Natural Movement
    The innovatively designed Vibrams feel great because they promote natural body movement. This reduces the possibility for practicing physical therapy exercises incorrectly because the body is encouraged to move naturally rather than being forced into certain positions.Tips & Caveats

If you do choose to recommend these shoes to a patient, there are some things you should know about the process of getting used to Vibrams:

  • Wear socks at first. Try the athletic toe socks from Injini, which are designed for this purpose. This increases comfort and prevents rocks and sand from making direct contact with the feet.
  • Ease into it. Wear Vibrams around the house and alternate them with other shoes before using them for exercise.
  • Prepare to get addicted.

Poll: What technology do you use to stay on touch while you are on the road?

traveling Physical Therapist using tin can for phoneLife as a traveling Physical Therapist can be exciting, but there will still be plenty of times you will want to stay in contact with your family and friends back home.

In this month’s poll we at Rehab and Therapy would love to know what technology you use to stay in touch.

Please choose the options that you use most below.

Guest Author: Wes Herdlein – The Do’s and Don’ts of PT Licensure

travel physical therapist at deskAfter 6 years as a traveling PT and obtaining licenses in 11 states, I have learned some lessons the hard way. In an effort to make it easier for the next generation, here are a few tips to help you along the way:

1) Maintain your license in your home state. Even if you rarely work there, this helps support your cause if the IRS decides to question your tax free earnings. It’s a smart move to earn some income in your home state every so often as well. (See Joseph Smith’s blogs on this community for more tax tips.)

2) Create some commonly used documents in the application process and keep them up to date. Make a folder on your computer for “state licensure”. Some files that will be helpful are listed below. These can be in either and Excel spreadsheet or a Word document table.

a. Employment History – start and end date, address, supervisor’s name and phone number, agency name, etc

b. Licensure History: State license number, date obtained, current or expired

c. A record of license expiration dates, renewal CEU requirements, and phone and addresses of the state licensing boards. (You can also organize your Favorites folders in your web browser to include all websites needed for licensing and verifications.)

3) I have uploaded a few files that you can use as templates on Healthcare Travelbook. You can find them at

4) Be nice. Sometimes you need to grease the wheels to push a license application through. Making a “friend” at the license board is sometimes the best way. Write their name down and thank them. (you might even send their boss a kudos for their professionalism, even if they weren’t so professional. They will remember you and be even more helpful when you need a license verification sent from them to another state. This has worked in some desperate situations!)

5) The good, the bad, the ugly: (good = easy to get a license)

a. Good states: North Carolina, Alabama, Wyoming, Oregon, Vermont, and Texas

b. Bad states: Wisconsin, South Carolina

6) Ugly states: New Hampshire, Washington. New Hampshire is the worst by far! Consider going to Vermont or Maine before attempting this one! I can almost promise delays and frustration! Once you do finally get a license there, it’s beautiful year round.

7) Keep your pistols loaded: Have envelopes, stamps, and pre-written letters on your computer. Pull the file, change the date, print, then send – prevent delays from having to stop to buy supplies. Time can be valuable when you begin the licensure process.

8) Use on-line services for transcripts, verifications, exam scores, etc. whenever possible.

9) Expect delays and account for them BEFORE they start! Be persistent but “nice”!

When just starting, it seems like a endless mountain to climb. But it gets easier as you streamline your system. Obviously the more states you travel to, the more verifications you will need to request when applying for a new state. Verifications for me range from $10 to $50. With 11 of them required (and counting!) this can add up quickly.

Good luck and TRAVEL ON!

Wes Herdlein is a Traveling PT and Founder of

Podcasts for PTs on short-term assignments close to home

travel physical therapist listening to a podcastA common misconception about travel physical therapy is that you have to work far from home in a new city, but actually a lot of travel PTs prefer to work short-term contracts close to home so they can make more money, but stay close to their families.

If you are one of these more local traveling physical therapists then you know how annoying it can be to sit stuck in traffic on the way to work or an in-home visit. Why not use that time to improve your skills and knowledge by listening to physical therapy podcasts.

Here is a page where he have provided links to all the Physical Therapy podcasts that are available.

Athlete 360: New Television Show on Sports Medicine

Here in America sport is our passion. We idolize different men and women from all sports and tend to know more about them than our friends and family. Now you can learn a little bit more about them than ever before, thanks to a new television show that is all about sports medicine and showcases different athletes from NASCAR to the PGA.

Television show on sports medicine for physical therapistsHere in America sport is our passion. We idolize different men and women from all sports and tend to know more about them than our friends and family. Now you can learn a little bit more about them than ever before, thanks to a new television show that is all about sports medicine and showcases different athletes from NASCAR to the PGA. Here’s what the production company, Serious Fun Productions says about their new TV show…

We’re American sports fans. We’re two-parts passion and one-part religion. We live and breathe sports. And now that our athletic heroes have become part of our everyday life, we want to know them, inside and out.

Now, we can. Literally. Dr. Mark Adickes, a Super Bowl-winning NFL offensive lineman turned Harvard-educated orthopedic surgeon is our host. And with his expert help (and state-of-the-art scanning and MRI technology), Athlete 360 gives us a window into our heroes’ past – letting us see the physical effect of their awe-inspiring careers… and the physical toll those acts of heroism exacted.

But this is not just a voyeuristic look at blown ACL’s and Tommy John surgeries. It’s a chance to see how the sports we love have changed, a chance to better understand what today’s athletes go through, and importantly, how to protect our kids from future injuries as they compete.

Dr. Adickes will explain how surgery techniques have improved, interview past and current elite athletes about their bodies, and give weekend warriors and parents alike a true inside look at sports.

So if there happens to be a time on your travel therapy assignment in which you find yourself with nothing to do… You now have an alternative.

Find local services during your travel PT job with

Thumbtack.comWhen you are on the road during a travel physical therapy job your company is going to handle a lot of life’s little headaches for you, like plumbing problems (yuck!) or setting you up with furniture in your housing.

But there are still bound to be issues that you encounter that you will need to help with. For instance do you know where you would go in a new city to have your computer fixed or watch your dog?

Or what if you just want a massage or need guitar lessons? 

With you can easily find people providing these services in the cities your travel physical therapy assignment is in.

Using the site is easy. Here are the basics:

  1. Sign up with your email address and Zipcode – make sure to add new or change your locations if your next assignment takes you to another city
  2. You can search for a service you need (and they have great customized search tools) or post a request using their Personal Concierge Service and they will find someone who provides it for you within 24 hours
  3. And if you want, you can set up your own service to provide and market yourself, although that may be tough for a traveler. However, if you can make money from properly fitting running shoes on the road or sharing that hidden drawing skill while you are on the road why not set one up.

Also, like all good sites like this they have good privacy options that let you set the visibility levels of your profile.

At the very least if you don’t set up your own profile you can browse the services provided in your state (these are listed at the bottom of the site) to find the contact info and web addresses of the businesses on, which could make your next assignment easier if you need to find a trusted service quickly.

So check it out.