Keeping Young Athletes Healthy

15-year old Alea Lutkenhaus receives physical therapy services at Winneshiek Medical Center to treat a hip injury sustained during her 8thgrade track season. Alea is pictured with her physical therapist, Megan Lyon, DPT.

Some kids just like to move.  Alea Lutkenhaus, an eighth-grader from Decorah Middle School, is one of those kids.

Out for track, softball, basketball, cross county and soccer, an injury can put the brakes on Alea’s plans any time of the year.   So when she felt her hip tighten during a track meet, Alea knew that she should listen to her body and get help.

“I was anchor for a 4×200, which is a new event for me, and my hip got numb and just felt weird,” says Alea.  Alea had sustained an overuse injury that occurs after repetitive use of the hip muscles.   She was referred to physical therapy at Winneshiek Medical Center’s Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Center.

“The first day Alea walked in, she was on crutches,” says Megan Lyon, DPT, Pilates-trained physical therapist who works with Alea.  “We began to work on core strengthening and regaining flexibility in her hip muscles.  I also provided ASTYM, a manual technique that promotes tissue regeneration while allowing patients to stay active.”

Alea responded well to therapy, and was off crutches before her second appointment with Megan.  The duo continued to work on healing the injured area.  “Alea has a history of hip and shin pain over the past 2 years so our focus on core strengthening will also help to prevent future injuries.  Eighth grade softball is ramping up for Alea, and we want to make sure she is ready for this season and seasons yet to come!” says Megan.

To assist in core strengthening, Megan leads Alea in Pilates-based exercises utilizing the Reformer.  “The Reformer is a piece of equipment that helps patients better isolate their core musculature while  performing movement patterns that are required for daily activities,” says Megan. “It facilitates safe and rapid rehabilitation of orthopedic, neurologic and chronic pain conditions, and allows us to accommodate people of nearly any age and level of ability.”

Alea’s mom, Carol Lutkenhaus, a fourth grade teacher in Decorah says, “It’s hard to see Alea sit when she wants to be up and going.   I’m thankful she is learning ways to move, despite her injury.”  Carol adds, “Working with Megan and the other therapists at WMC has helped her learn more about her body, and has opened her eyes to possibly entering the medical field when she’s older.  I’m glad Alea has had such a positive experience at Winneshiek Medical Center.”

Winneshiek Medical Center offers comprehensive rehabilitation services for people of all ages and conditions with clinics in Decorah, Ossian, Calmar and Spring Grove, MN. The highly-trained staff includes licensed physical and occupational therapists, certified hand therapists; athletic trainers; speech language pathologists; and registered nurses.

Therapy services at WMC are available through a doctor’s referral.  For more information on available services, visit our Rehabilitation & Sports Medicine  page or call 563-387-3031.

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