Orthopedic Injuries
Woman at physiotherapy making physical exercises with qualified therapist


Physical therapy is important in orthopedics for two primary reasons: 

>> First, orthopedic patients typically have a deficiency that needs to be addressed. For example, patients with carpal tunnel syndrome may have weakness of specific hand muscles that require targeted exercises. Or knee conditions such as chondromalacia may be due in part to muscle imbalance around the knee joint. A physical therapist can teach exercises that specifically target these muscles to improve function and decrease problems. 

>> Second, physical therapists are knowledgeable about surgical procedures, treatment goals, musculoskeletal anatomy, and can tailor their efforts to improve the fitness and well-being of the patient. After a procedure such as a hip replacement or ACL reconstruction, it is important that therapy is guided by the surgical procedure. Some surgeries require protocols from your doctor and must be followed strictly under the supervision of your physical therapist. 

At Body Mechanics Physical Therapy our physical therapists are specially trained to treat orthopedic problems. Physical therapists may use the following techniques to rehabilitate your orthopedic condition: 

Joint Mobilization:
Joint mobilizations are helpful to realign bones that have shifted or subluxed. Additionally, joint mobilizations will decrease edema (swelling) and pain. Joint mobilizations are used in conjunction with muscle energy techniques to correct spinal alignment and decrease muscle tone. 

Stretching is vital to maintain good range of motions around a joint. If a patient has stiff joints, normal activities such as opening a jar or climbing stairs can be severely affected. By proper stretching, these functions can be preserved. After an injury or surgery, scar tissue forms, and soft-tissue contracts; this is when stretching is most important. 

Strengthening exercises are performed to help the patient improve the function of their muscles. These help to improve strength, increase endurance, and maintain or improve range of motion. Common types of strength training include: 

Closed Chain:
The closed chain exercises are performed with the foot locked in position on the ground – for example a leg squat. These exercises are performed to help balance the muscle strength. By performing closed chain exercises, the weak muscle (e.g. the quadriceps) and its antagonist the hamstrings), will both be exercised and balanced. Open chain exercises, such as a leg extension, do not balance the muscles this way.

Proprioception is the sense of knowing where a body part is in space. This can be difficult to grasp until you lose it, because so much proprioception occurs without conscious thought. When you lose proprioception of an ankle joint after a sprain, you may complain of an unstable sensation of the joint. Proprioception training reteaches your body to control the position of an injured joint.

Ice and Heat Therapy:
Ice and heat are useful to warm up and cool off muscles. In addition, these modalities can stimulate flow and decrease swelling. These can be important aspects of the therapeutic process. 

Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to stimulate the damaged tissues within the body. By passing an ultrasound probe over the body, deep tissues are stimulated by vibration of the sound wave. This leads to warming and increased blood flow to these tissues. 

The results of the surgery will depend in part on how long the condition has existed and how much damage has been done to the nerve. For that reason, it’s a good idea to see a physical therapist early if you think you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. 

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Cole Smith, PT, DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Specialty: Orthopedic Conditions, Post-Operative Rehabilitation, Gait and Balance

  • University of North Georgia 2022 
  • GPT Start Year: 2022

Lydia Gailey, PT, DPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Specialty: Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation, Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction, Low Back Pain


  • University of North Georgia 2015
  • 7 years experience
  • GPT Start Year: 2017

Nicole Burkett, PT

Physical Therapist

Specialty: Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction and Low Back Pain, Cervical Pain, Balance Training

  • University of North Georgia 1997
  • 25 Years Experience
  • GPT Start Year: 2014

Sarah Edwards, PTA

Physical Therapist Assistant

Specialty: Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction 

Bio: Sarah has been with Gainesville Physical Therapy since 2004. She grew up in Athens, GA and graduated from Athens Technical College in 2004. She currently lives in Jefferson, GA with her two children and dogs. Sarah actively participates with cub scouts and enjoys outdoor activities like camping, hiking and swimming. Specialties include treatment of sacroiliac joint dysfunction and the restorative disc program.

Ree Hyatt, PTA

Physical Therapist Assistant

Specialty: Manual Hand Therapy 

Bio: Ree has been involved in physical therapy for over 36 years. He worked as a physical therapy specialist in the U.S. Army from 1977 to 1980. He also worked as a technician in acute care at Lanier Park Hospital from 1980-1987. Ree has been at Gainesville Physical Therapy since 1987. In 2004, he got his Associates Degree as a Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA) at Athens Technical College. He specializes in hand treatment and the custom fabrication splints.

Darren Hilchie, PT

Physical Therapist

Specialty: Shoulder Rehabilitation, Therapy of the Knee, Manual Therapy

Bio: Darren has been with Gainesville Physical Therapy for 15 years. He graduated from North Georgia College and State University in 2007 as a physical therapist. Darren practiced Exercise Physiology for 5 years in the US and Canada before returning to school to become a physical therapist.

  • North Georgia College and State University 2007
  • 15 Years of Experience
  • GPT Start Year: 2007

Kristy Basinger, PT, CHT

Physical Therapist and Certified Hand Therapist

Specialty: Certified Hand Therapy, Manual Therapy, Post-Operative Spine Rehabilitation

Bio: Kristy Basinger, PT, CHT has practiced physical therapy in Gainesville since 1995. Her clinical specialties include hand therapy, orthopedic manual therapy, and her favorite modality is dry needling.

  • St. Louis University 1995
  • 27 Years Experience
  • GPT Start Year: 1995

Joanne Hamilton, PT

Co-Director & Physical Therapist

Specialty: Industrial Rehabilitation, Arthritis Education, Manual Therapy

Bio: Joanne Hamilton, PT is a Clinical Co-Director of Gainesville Physical Therapy, and has given national presentations on various topics, including Functional Capacity Evaluations, Validity Testing, Management of Injured Workers, and Work Site Assessments.

  • West Virginia University 1978
  • 44 years experience
  • GPT Start Year: 1986

Jeff Skorput, PT

Co-Director & Physical Therapist

Specialty: Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction & Low Back Pain, Total Joint Rehabilitation, Manual Therapy

Bio: Jeff Skorput, PT joined Gainesville Physical Therapy in 1987. He completed his certificate program in Orthopedic Physical Therapy in 1984. He teaches continuing education courses on the topic of Lumbar Spine and Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction Evaluation and Treatment. 

  • University of Vermont 1977
  • 45 Years of Experience
  • GPT Start Year: 1987

Vicki Sims, PT, CHT

Co-Director, Physical Therapist, & Certified Hand Therapist

Specialty: Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction & Low Back Pain, Hand Therapy, Manual Therapy

Bio: Vicki Sims, PT, CHT is a Clinical Co-Director of Gainesville Physical Therapy. Vicki has helped pioneer diagnosis and treatment for Sacroiliac Dysfunction since 1985. She is the co-author of four clinical papers on the sacroiliac joint, and author of “The Definitive Book on the Treatment of SI Joint Dysfunction.” 

  • Georgia State University 1976
  • 46 Years Experience 
  • GPT Start Year: 1986