Have you ever seen what a $5,000 shoe box looks like? It might surprise you.

Recently I had the opportunity to work with a patient who had been experiencing significant foot pain for years. They had been suffering from pain on and off, and unfortunately, by the time they came to see me, they had tried almost everything. It was easy to see their frustration during our first appointment, as they had spent a significant amount of time and money on remedies that only provided short-lasting relief, if any. 

As I talked with the patient, they brought up this 5,000 dollar shoe box they had at home. It was very intriguing to me, so I asked them to explain this further. They went on to describe a detailed list of foot remedies they had tried. This included splints and insoles purchased online, in stores, custom fit, and over the counter. In total, they estimated the cost to over 5,000 dollars! This amount didn’t even account for the other multiple interventions or shoes they had purchased prior to seeing us, which was likely a similar dollar amount.

October is national PT month, which to me means a time to reflect on what a great profession I have been so fortunate to be part of. It is also a time for me to advocate for the position that physical therapy plays in our medical model in helping patients. Every day I feel blessed that I was able to receive the tools and medical training I have throughout countless hours of school, years of experience to help people get better. Just as the patient I mentioned above, the 5,000 dollar shoe box scenario is an all-too-common scenario that we see daily with patients who have tried everything before coming to us. Not only is this an expensive issue for the patient, but it reduces the quality of life a person is able to experience until the issue is properly addressed. 

Although we appreciate people coming to us in any stage of their condition, we are constantly encouraging people to see us as a first line of defense against any muscle or joint pain. The benefits of physical therapy early on have been proven to reduce cost to the patient, use of opioids, risk of surgery and  decrease time taken to get back to normal life! With direct access to physical therapy being available, no referral is needed, allowing increased ease of access to our services. 
So, the next time you’re having an ache or pain, don’t make a 5,000 dollar shoe box. Try physical therapy, and get the help you need.

Matt Wanderscheid, Doctor of Physical Therapy