Published on March 18, 2019

Marathon Runner is Off to the Races after Physical Therapy

Photo of Deb Bongard, WellSport and Rehabilitation patient with MidMichigan Health.

After physical therapy to heal an injury, Deb Bongard is back at work training for the road races she loves to compete in.

Avid runner Deb Bongard has competed in races in distances varying from a 5k all the way up to a full marathon. In Sept. 2018, the 59-year-old was training for the Dopey Challenge, a series of races at Disney World that had been on her bucket list for a long time.

As Bongard was training for the event, which consists of a 5k, 10k, half-marathon and full marathon, she developed pain in her right knee. “The pain started out as minor, but was a little worrisome as it became progressively worse,” she said. “After a slow heal from a bout of plantar fasciitis that impacted a previous marathon that I ran, I didn’t want this race interfered with.”

Bongard wanted a doctor who specialized in sports medicine to look at her knee. She made an appointment with WellSport Program Medical Director J. T Pinney, M.D. WellSport, the region’s only medically-directed sports medicine program, is designed to help expedite the assessment, referral and treatment of athletes of all ages who suffer from sports-related injuries. The program’s focus is to help injured athletes return to their sport as quickly and safely as possible.

“Dr. Pinney immediately made me feel at ease and relaxed as he examined my knee,” Bongard said. He manipulated my knee in several different positions and was able to identify the problem area pretty quickly. He had an X-ray taken just to be sure, and determined that physical therapy was the best way to go in my case.”

“I was diagnosed with a meniscal tear and a touch of arthritis,” Bongard said. Dr. Pinney referred Bongard to Physical Therapist Dave Bearss, P.T., D.P.T., C.S.C.S., in part because he’s an avid runner, too. Bearss gave her three different stretching and exercise routines to do in order to strengthen her knee before the big race.

Bongard said she would absolutely recommend Bearss, Dr. Pinney and the entire WellSport team for anyone suffering from a sports-related injury. “Dr. Pinney was genuinely concerned about helping me get back to doing what I love to do,” she said. “Dave went way above and beyond the call of duty by meeting me extra early in the morning so that I could get to work on time, and he was so personable.”

The whole process went smoothly for Bongard, and she didn’t feel like she was rushed during her appointments. She said both Dr. Pinney and Bearss took time to examine her case and track her progress.

Bongard went on to complete the Dopey Challenge without any significant pain in her knee, and she’s already anxiously awaiting the next race.

Physical Therapist Dave Bearss, P.T., D.P.T., C.S.C.S., is currently welcoming new physical therapy patients at the Campus Ridge Building, located on the campus of MidMichigan Medical Center - Midland. Those who would like more information about becoming a patient may call (989) 837-9117. Those who would like more information about the WellSport Program may call (989) 837-9350 or visit www.midmichigan.org/wellsport.

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