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Teacher aces test

Free injury screening puts woman
on fast track to recovery
Kathy Kindschi takes advantage of Medcenter One Sports Medicine's free screening
Sixth-grade teacher Kathy Kindschi took advantage of Sanford Orthopedics & Sports Medicine's free injury screening and now is back playing the sport
she loves.
  Educator Kathy Kindschi learned a lesson about the benefits of seeking prompt medical attention after sustaining an injury.

She gets an “A” from her medical providers for taking advantage of free injury screenings offered at Sanford Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, located in the Sanford Seventh & Thayer Clinic in Bismarck, and for completing her physical therapy homework.

Volleyball has been an important part of the Centennial Elementary sixth-grade teacher’s life since she began playing in a league in college. During a match Oct. 6, 2010, the former volleyball coach reached for the ball and felt a pulling and tearing sensation in her right calf.

“I couldn’t put any weight on my leg,” the Bismarck woman said. “I sat on the sidelines while I iced and elevated it. I kept thinking it would get better, but it didn’t.”

The next morning, her husband, Jim, scheduled a free injury screening at Sanford Health.

“Jim is also a former coach, and we both recognized I was going to need help,” she said. “Scheduling a screening was the smart thing to do.”

Samantha Melchior, licensed/certified athletic trainer with Sanford Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, agreed.

After taking a thorough history and assessing Kindschi’s injury, Melchior provided crutch training and scheduled an
appointment immediately after the screening with an orthopedic family nurse practitioner, who confirmed Melchior’s finding. Kindschi had suffered a partial tear in her calf muscle.

The nurse practitioner placed Kindschi in a non-weight bearing walking boot and referred her to physical therapy.

“The goal of injury screenings is to help a patient determine the problem, its severity and refer the patient if needed,” Melchior said. “If Kathy hadn’t come in when she did, she would have had an ongoing limp as well as a decrease in strength and overall function.”

A patient undergoing the screening can be referred to either his or her primary care doctor or to an appropriate medical provider for further testing or treatment. Melchior emphasized waiting could be detrimental because the injury could become more severe, possibly causing continued limitations.

“If I feel an immediate referral isn’t necessary, I’ll instruct the patient to ice the area and take further conservative measures as needed,” Melchior said. “Also, if needed, I teach proper stretching and strengthening exercises. If there isn’t an improvement within a week, I refer the patient.”

Free injury screenings are available to anyone who has a concern about a recent or past injury.

“I’ve screened patients from ages 8 to 90,” Melchior said. “People come in with anything from sprained ankles to low back pain.”

Kindschi’s husband had suggested she consider not playing volleyball following the injury.

“I enjoy playing and spending time with my teammates too much to give it up, so quitting was not an option,” she said.

A week after the injury, she began treatment with Carol Hineman, a physical therapist at the Sanford Women’s Health Center.

  Carol Hineman, physical therapist at Medcenter One
Carol Hineman
Physical therapy

Samantha Melchior, athletic trainer
Samantha Melchior
Sports medicine
“At her first session, she was concerned her volleyball career might be over,” Hineman said. “She was astounded at how quickly she improved.”

Kindschi’s treatments included ultrasound therapy and deep tissue massage to prevent scar tissue formation. As she gradually increased the weight she placed on her leg, she added range of motion and strengthening exercises.

“Kathy’s compliance with her home exercise program contributed greatly to her success,” Hineman said.

After only six sessions of therapy over three weeks, Kindschi progressed from being unable to put weight on her leg to walking normally.

She returned to the volleyball court to play the season’s final match Nov. 17.

Kindschi’s message to anyone suffering from an injury or pain is to take advantage of what she learned.

“Don’t hesitate to be screened,” she said. “I’m grateful for the wonderful care I received. The opportunity is there for you, too.”

Click here for more information about Sanford Orthopedics & Sports Medicine or call 701.323.6836.

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