Penn Therapy & Fitness Helps Runner Return from Ankle Pain

Jennifer Johnston has always been an avid runner, averaging around 60 miles per week. Running, Jennifer says, always was a therapeutic outlet and a way to de-stress. Despite running for most of her life, Jennifer began developing pain in her right ankle. After realizing running had become nearly impossible with her ankle pain, Jennifer visited her doctor for answers.

Penn Medicine’s Gregory Ranalli, MMS, PA-C, suggested Jennifer seek physical therapy if she wanted to return to high-volume running. Dr. Ranalli referred Jennifer to Penn Therapy & Fitness Radnor, where she worked with Heidi Fuhr, PTA, L/CMT.

A runner herself, Heidi quickly realized Jennifer was rolling her ankles while running. The best way to stop Jennifer from rolling her ankles was to first allow the ankle to rest and heal. Then, Heidi taught Jennifer how to distribute her body weight and balance properly.

Jennifer was not keen on the idea of giving up running and resting, so Heidi got creative.

“I knew I needed to think outside the box and change things up a bit with her,” says Heidi.

Heidi replaced some of Jennifer’s running miles with another cardiovascular exercise: bike riding. This approach made a world of difference for Jennifer.

After her ankle healed, Heidi trained Jennifer to focus on abdominal and pelvic stability while being mindful of her movement during runs. This training removed a lot of stress from both Jennifer’s ankles.

“The focus on the pelvic stability was something I had no clue about,” says Jennifer. “After starting these exercises, I almost immediately noticed a change in my gait while running, and my pain subsided when I started riding my bike more frequently.”

Heidi noted that having no typical therapy session and making sure Jennifer was getting the most out of each visit was the most successful part of their treatment plan.

Today, Jennifer is back to running without pain. She never forgets to stay mindful of her body like she was taught at therapy. She also sticks to running fewer miles per week and supplementing with her bike, when needed.

“I would certainly recommend Penn Therapy & Fitness,” says Jennifer. “I work at Penn, and I have always heard really great things about Good Shepherd Penn Partners. I have never witnessed or experienced anything other than care, skill and kindness here.”

For more info about how Penn Therapy and Fitness can help with your recovery, call 877-969-7342 or contact us.