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Wichita physical therapy clinic seeing an increase in calls for appointments with heat-related issues

Advanced Physical Therapy’s Theodora Stevens, PT, DPT, spoke with KAKE on how the extreme heat has been affecting patients’ aches and pains, read more below!


Have you thought that this heat could be impacting your joints or knuckles? How about your elbows or knees? Doctors say you aren’t wrong for thinking that and in fact this heat may actually be triggering a painful impact on your body.

It’s no secret that cold weather can be hard on your body, but the heat can actually aggravate some pain too. One West Wichita physical therapy clinic says the increase in calls for appointments this summer has been more than just noticeable.

“We are treating one thing and we are seeing another thing pop up that we were not expecting,” Dr. Theodora Stevens, PT, DPT, a physical therapist at Advanced Physical Therapy in West Wichita said.

Nearly a dozen physical therapists at Advanced Physical Therapy in West Wichita see patients daily.

“In about a month, we see about 2,200, so our average…. is a little over 100 people a day at Advanced Physical Therapy West Wichita.”

An influx of clients requesting appointments could be seen starting in June, which is around the time the heat starts bearing down.

“Even myself, I had a random flareup of my calf swelling where I’ve had surgery and injury and I am standing there even as a physical therapist, (wondering) why is this happening to me? And then you start looking at all your patients coming in and start putting things together and it’s like ‘oh it’s a really hot day today’,” Dr. Theodora Stevens, PT, DPT, a physical therapist at Advanced Physical Therapy in West Wichita said.

Dr. Stevens is a physical therapist and clinic director. She shared with KAKE an exercise that helped a patient of hers with mobility.

It’s an exercise similar to what Jenny Wall would do almost daily.

“My foot didn’t want to move very much. I had been non-weight bearing for 11 weeks,” Wall said.

After a fall left her with broken bones in her ankle, she started physical therapy.

“I found, after my accident, that my foot would give me sharp pains every now and then when the weather would change, but also more in the summer than I expected. Especially, this summer, even four years after my accident, I was having longer jabs of pain,” Jenny Wall said Wednesday. “I came for like 21 sessions and I hadn’t been back until this summer, when I starting to have some back pain.”

Dr. Stevens has been a therapist for almost 10 years. She says the heat can impact your body more than you might think.

“One of the things is that the increased heat and humidity can cause tissue swelling along the joints and tendons which can increase inflammation and pain. The other is the barometric pressure changes, such as with storms and that humidity, it increases pressure around those achy joints and that can also increase pain,” Dr. Stevens added.

Dr. Stevens says when we don’t move, things will get stiffer and walking in the evening or morning when there is less sun up could help.

She adds that you want to drink a bottle of water for every hour you are outside when you do get moving.


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