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Fit Minute: Why physical therapy is only the beginning of your healing

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)-- If you've ever had an injury or surgery you might have gone to a physical therapist afterward. Physical therapists say it's essential that you get help from them so you don't hurt yourself more. But, they don't want you to stop moving your body once you're done with physical therapy.

She's the general manager of the Wilmington Athletic Club. So, naturally, Sara Goodwin is passionate about fitness.

"Fitness is definitely a huge part of my life, being an athlete all my life, and I've been in this field for over 15 years," Goodwin said.

Before joining the fitness field, Goodwin played many sports.

"I played volleyball and basketball and ran track all through high school and played volleyball through college. And, so just the constant pounding and side to side movements I had knee issues," Goodwin said.

To solve those knee issues, Goodwin had to have two knee surgeries.

"I had the knee surgeries in 1991 and 1992," Goodwin said.

After that, Goodwin went through physical therapy sessions much like the ones physical therapist Tyler Whiteside offers at the WAC.

"If you don't fix the problem, it's never going to go away," Goodwin said.

So, she helped demonstrate what happens at physical therapy sessions Wednesday.

"What we initially do is have someone come in and do an evaluation covering strength and flexibility, their pain levels and functional limitations and then build a program off of that," Whiteside said.

Even though the program can be tedious, frustrating or even painful at times, Whiteside said it does lead to progress.

"Once you show them, 'Oh, I couldn't walk from my front door to the mailbox last week and now I can do that no problem and I can walk to the grocery store now.' If you show those little changes in their daily activity, they realize, OK, this is something that's worthwhile," Whiteside said.

It was worthwhile for Goodwin. She still stays active.

"I started taking up doing triathlons and so the running ... does cause some issues. But, again, I just kind of work through it," Goodwin said.

Working through it, Whiteside said, is what's most important after physical therapy.

"The situation here is that we're trying to connect the physical therapy side to the fitness side," Whiteside said.

But, he added that connecting the two is sometimes the most difficult part. Next week in the Fit Minute, find out why physical therapists say starting an exercise regiment after physical therapy is key to helping you completely heal.

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