3 Most Popular Physical Therapy Specialties

The 3 Most Popular Physical Therapy Specialties

Woman being treated by a physical therapist

If you’ve been experiencing joint or muscle pain recently and think that there’s nothing you can do to solve it except popping Ibuprofen, think again. With all the many different kinds of physical therapy specialties available, you’re bound to find something that can help alleviate your pain. But physical therapy isn’t just for getting rid of pain, it can also help improve balance, motor skills, as well as movement.

With all the different specialties offered at physical therapy clinics, let’s dive into what they are and why they’re so popular:

Orthopedic Physical Therapy

 Physical therapy specialist checking on a patient's leg

Orthopedic physical therapy is one of the most common practices. In fact, in 2012, there were 7,655 physical therapists that were practicing orthopedic physical therapy. But what exactly does it entail?

The goal of orthopedic physical therapy is to improve your orthopedic system, which includes major muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons in your body. Those who have suffered from an injury can greatly benefit from orthopedic physical therapy. If you receive an injury to your body, like a fracture, pulled muscle, or you’re simply recovering from recent surgery, it’s not going to heal as well on its own if you just let it be. Orthopedic physical therapy will help you regain strength quicker and reduce the chance of future injuries occurring.

With all the extra tools and equipment a physical therapy clinic has to offer, you’ll be able to perform exercises and stretches that will heal your body quicker than you’d ever be able to do by yourself at home. Not to mention, you’ll have an expert physical therapist there to help you along the way to coach and guide you through the entire process.

Geriatric Physical Therapy

Elderly person at a physical therapy clinic receiving care

Geriatric physical therapy is quite popular with 1,422 physical therapists specializing in it as of 2012. This type of specialization focuses on helping the elderly regain some strength and improve their balance. This is a great option for those that want to be more independent in their later years and have more strength in their body to keep them going.

Geriatric physical therapy can help prevent falls in the elderly. This can be life-saving considering in the United States, falling is the leading cause of injury and often death in the older population. The saddest part about that statistic is that falls are easily preventable with balance and strength training with a physical therapist. At Armada Physical Therapy, we offer the Fall Prevention Program specifically for elderly patients looking to improve their balance and reduce the likelihood of falling.

Another option for geriatric physical therapy is a spine treatment program. This is great for all ages but especially benefits the elderly. This type of program helps to alleviate pain and strengthen the core. Working with a physical therapist can be so helpful for seniors because they will evaluate your needs and gently work with your body to help you feel stronger and more independent.

Sports Medicine

 Woman receiving sports medicine physical therapy from a physical therapist

Sports medicine is another popular physical therapy specialty and can be extremely beneficial to any athlete. 

The thing about sports medicine is it’s not just for pro athletes. You can be in high school, college, or a paid professional to receive benefits from sports medicine. This type of physical therapy can help athletes improve their performance with strength training, help prevent injury, and provide assistance in recovering from past injuries.

Not only can this type of therapy help with injuries, but it can also help you learn the proper techniques needed for your sport. Having the wrong technique can lead to injury and overall poor performance. An experienced physical therapist can help assist you in learning the right technique for a golf swing, a football throw, a tennis swing, and so much more. Whether you’re a professional or amateur athlete, a sports medicine program will help you perform better and become a better player.

Armada Physical Therapy Services

Armada PT offers a variety of physical therapy services just like these specialties plus so much more. You can find us at any of these locations in New Mexico. 

Book an appointment with us today; we look forward to seeing you!

Armada Physical Therapy – Coors

Hours:
Monday to Friday 7:30am to 6:00pm

Physical Therapy Treatment & Services

  • Fall Prevention Programs
  • Manual Physical Therapy
  • Post-Surgical Rehabilitation
  • Pediatric Orthopedic PT
  • Spine Rehabilitation
  • Sports Medicine
  • Trigger Point Dry Needling
  • Work Injury Rehabilitation

Headshot of Armand Larragoite, a physical therapist in Albuquerque, NMArmand Larragoite, PT, DPT, Clinic Director

Armand received his doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2015 from the University of New Mexico. He began working in outpatient physical therapy right after school and is ASTM certified. Armand uses manual therapy in combination with exercise and dry needling level 1 to help return patients to their previous level of function. He enjoys working with all populations especially high school athletes for return to sport and injury prevention. In his free time Armand enjoys competing in CrossFit and camping with his wife and two dogs.

Armada Physical Therapy – Jefferson

Hours:
Monday to Friday 7:30am to 6:00pm

Best Physical Therapy Services

  • Fall Prevention Programs
  • Manual Physical Therapy
  • Post-Surgical Rehabilitation
  • Pediatric Orthopedic PT
  • Spine Rehabilitation
  • Sports Medicine
  • Trigger Point Dry Needling
  • Work Injury Rehabilitation

Elizabeth Lonergan, PT, DPT, Clinic Director

Elizabeth has been practicing as an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist since her graduation from the University of New Mexico Doctor of Physical Therapy program in 2015. She is passionate about using her skills in manual therapy and exercise prescription to decrease pain and return patients to the activities they love. Elizabeth enjoys working with athletes and holds a certificate in returning injured athletes to sport. As a classically trained dancer, Elizabeth has a particular interest in the treatment of dancers. She has passed the Cechetti National Student Ballet Exams, giving her a strong foundation in ballet technique, artistry, dance theory, and anatomy of the dancer.

She received advanced education in dance, anatomy, and biomechanics at New Mexico State University, where she was a member of the Contemporary Dance Theater. Here she was able to expand her knowledge of dance to many different styles including modern, jazz, contemporary, ballroom, and flamenco. Upon graduation from NMSU with her BA in Kinesiology and Minors in Dance technique education and psychology, Elizabeth moved to Albuquerque where she danced professionally with Ballet Repetory Theater of New Mexico.

Elizabeth has completed the best physical therapy training with Marika Molnar, the physical therapy provider for New York City Ballet. She has also attended courses with NYU’s Harkness Center for Dance Injuries for dance specific rehabilitation, shoe fitting, and dance nutrition. Elizabeth has had the opportunity to work with many dance companies in Albuquerque and is the premier doctor of physical therapy for Keshet Dance Company. Outside of work, Elizabeth continues to dance and enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 dogs.

Armada Physical Therapy – Los Lunas

Hours:
Monday to Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm

Physical Therapist Services

  • Fall Prevention Programs
  • Manual Physical Therapy
  • Post-Surgical Rehab Physical Therapy
  • Pediatric Orthopedic PT
  • Spine Rehabilitation
  • Sports Medicine
  • Trigger Point Dry Needling
  • Work Injury Rehabilitation

Meet Our Clinicians

Melody Rattanapote-Malaney, PT, DPT, Clinic Director

Mel is a native New Mexican, born and raised in Albuquerque. She graduated with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) from Missouri State University before returning to New Mexico to work in outpatient, inpatient, and home health rehab physical therapy settings. Mel has spent her career in the rural communities of Socorro and Valencia counties and has treated many patients from age 0 to 97 with a variety of musculoskeletal and neurological pathologies. She has specialized training in functional dry needling in addition to other familiar evidence-based physical therapy interventions and techniques. Mel prefers individualized treatment sessions and is passionate about patient education and the restoration of function and quality of life. When not in the clinic, Mel spends her time with her husband and furry children and enjoys photography, hiking, and road biking

Armada Physical Therapy – Menaul

Hours:
Monday to Friday 7:30am to 6:00pm

Services

  • Fall Prevention Programs
  • Manual Physical Therapy
  • Post-Surgical Rehabilitation
  • Pediatric Orthopedic PT
  • Spine Rehabilitation
  • Sports Medicine
  • Trigger Point Dry Needling
  • Work Injury Rehabilitation

K. Violet Dinnen, DPT, Clinic Director

Violet received her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of New Mexico. Her practice relies on evidence-based manual therapy techniques and she particularly enjoys treating foot, ankle, and upper extremity conditions. She has taken several continuing education courses that focus on biomechanical principles and manual therapy treatments. Outside of work, she likes to exercise, golf, practice yoga, and travel whenever possible.

Tracy Mechenbier, DPT

Tracy has practiced primarily in the outpatient orthopedic setting and has also continued to work in the inpatient neurological rehab setting, on a PRN basis to keep up her skills. She obtained her B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of New Mexico before attaining her Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy from UNM in 2015. Tracy’s strengths are in constructing creative exercise programs relevant to patient’s lifestyles, as well as performing manual therapy techniques. She currently utilizes dry needling for pain reduction and to address ROM limitations. Prior to working as a physical therapist, Tracy was a personal trainer and soccer coach. She played competitive soccer throughout her youth and into college. Currently she spends her free time staying active with her husband and four young children.

Armada Physical Therapy – Rio Rancho

Hours:
Monday, Wednesday 8:00am to 6:00pm
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 7:30am to 2:30pm

Services

  • Fall Prevention Programs
  • Manual Physical Therapy
  • Post-Surgical Rehabilitation
  • Pediatric Orthopedic PT
  • Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilizations (IASTYM)
  • Spine Rehabilitation
  • Sports Medicine
  • Peri-Neural and Trigger Point Dry Needling
  • Work Injury Rehabilitation

Timothy Serrano, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, Clinic Director

A California native, Timothy, moved to New Mexico and completed his undergraduate degree from UNM in 2008. He then took time to study Black Mantled Howler monkeys in Costa Rica and Ecuador as a research assistant before earning his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina in 2013. He has since earned several advanced certifications including his Diploma of Osteopractic (2015) from the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy (AAMT) that comprises certifications in Spinal Manipulation (Cert. SMT) and musculoskeletal and peri-neural Dry Needling (Cert. DN). In 2018 he completed an Orthopedic Fellowship accredited with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT) which is a national organization committed to excellence in Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy practice, education and research. During his Fellowship he helped conduct research on cervicogenic headaches (headaches that are caused by the upper neck) with AAMT. As of 2019 he is one of eight with the FAAOMPT distinction in the entire state of New Mexico.  He has  a tremendous passion for helping all patients with any musculoskeletal conditions and works well with patients in targeting and achieving their specific goals for returning and restoring them back to their desired quality of life. When he is not in the clinic, he enjoys playing board games with friends and family, hiking, camping or exploring the outdoors with his dog Rupert.