My name is Dr. Katie McMahon. For those of you who don't know me, I am a physical therapist specializing in dance and performing arts medicine. I have been practicing now for 7 years and have an additional 15+ years experience in dance education as well as 30+ years of actual dance experience. Over the years I have had the privilege to treat students of all ages, professionals and teachers of various forms of dance, especially ballet. I have also had the opportunity to work with figure skaters, gymnasts, cheerleaders, divers, synchronized swimmers, and aerial artists. So basically, I have a very cool job.
Some of my personal areas of interest are lower extremity injuries especially the feet, knees and everything in between, core stability and more recently, peripartum injuries and conditions. Something I feel strongly about both in my practice as a PT as well as in my won life, is treating the person, not only the injury, and finding and correcting the source. One of the ways I help my patients to overcome injury and reduce the likelihood of recurrence is to look at the demands of sport-specific movements, break it down and rebuild it using more sound alignment, biomechanics, and ensuring adequate muscle length, strength and proprioception to facilitate a correct pattern. What does this mean? Lets take ballet for example (since its my favorite!):
Like in any sport, footwear is especially important, and highly specialized, just like it is in so many sports. At the professional and advanced student levels, pointe shoes are often required for many hours per week. The pointe shoe has a lot in common with any other shoe, in the sense that is the housing for your feet, the pointe where your ENTIRE BODY, comes into contact and interacts with the floor. HUGE! Now, pointe shoes are very different in the sense that they are hand made, made with very different materials than other footwear, and vary highly from length to width, and the overall shape which I will talk about more in another post to come. They also allow ballerinas to bare weight through the foot in ways that no other athlete is going to, through the tips of the toes. Thus selection of the correct shoe is crucial. Specialized fitters act as the "Olivander" of pointe shoes (Harry Potter reference), and select several pairs for students and professionals to try before the best fit is identified. A lot of the time, for my dancers, and all my other athletes, one part of treatment is taking a closer look at their footwear, and making changes as needed.
So following this train of thought, of building from the ground up, and examining where we interact with the ground (or whatever else we're interacting with), I'm super excited to be bringing our patients posts about "walking in our patients shoes". In these posts, I will take a closer look at sport-specific footwear, examine what is important to know about getting into said shoes, and how we ensure a fun and injury-free sport experience through proper mechanics and training! So post on our page or message us if you have some shoes you want is to get into!
Look for up-coming posts!