Even though I think I say this every time I write a final In-depth report, time keeps moving faster each year and I feel like it was just a little while ago that I decided on my topic for the course. And now, here I am again, writing my final blog post and reflecting on what I’ve learned through this 5 month project.

For my third and final year of the (IDS) In-depth project, I decided to step it up a notch and explore a field I was somewhat nervous and definitely unknowledgeable about: science, and specifically, kinesiology. Ever since I started playing on sports teams, I’ve become increasingly more interested in how the body moves and functions to perform both everyday tasks and physically strenuous activities. I’ve learned the importance in getting to know how to assess, treat, and prevent injuries, and I’ve found physiotherapy to be a career that I am interested in pursuing further in the future.

Upon doing some research on different types of physiotherapy and what it would be like as a career, I began to set some goals for my project. I started off with high hopes to get a thorough introduction to physiotherapy, while visiting clinics often and absorbing new information quickly and effectively. Of course, having only taken Biology and Physics up to the grade 10 level, I soon realized that it would be extremely difficult and unrealistic to achieve all of the goals I had set for the course. I realized that the original proposal, had certain components to it that I would not be able to complete within the amount of time I had. I decided that I would show the original proposal to a mentor, and ask for advice on revising it based on what seemed reasonable and doable.

I sent out a couple of emails— one to Fortius Sport & Health Center and one to Eagle Ridge Aquatic Center— asking anyone that had physical therapy experience to be my mentor for the project. I was not able to receive any confirming replies, but I was fortunate enough to be put in contact with Travis through a former patient of his. Travis was enthusiastic about the project, and was extremely kind in agreeing to both support me throughout the course and send me links to provide some guidance and direction. After a Skype interview, we narrowed down some good focuses for the project, and decided to work on a few specific joints (the knees, shoulders, ankles & back).

Before getting started on the joints, my mentor thought it would be a good idea to become familiar with the general idea of physical therapy, and getting to know what physiotherapists do. I looked through the International Classification of Functioning and Disability (ICF) to get to know some of the terms, and began learning about muscles, ligaments, cartilage, tendons, connective tissue, and nerves. I knew of these words before, but didn’t actually know the details about their role in the body, and how they play a part in a human’s abilities to move.

Next, I was ready to start looking at the knees. I learned about the ligaments and cartilage connecting the joint, as well as the different ways it moves (flexion, extension, etc.) to allow us to walk. I looked into some common injuries, such as inflammation and tears, especially focusing on Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS). I looked at causes and symptoms, as well as some simple treatments like exercises and immediate ways to help. I also watched a video my mentor sent me that taught how to perform a Knee Stability Assessment.

After that, I looked into the shoulders and examined what causes this joint to be so prone to injury. I learned about the major intrinsic and extrinsic muscles, as well as how the clavicle, humerus and scapula fit together to form the joint itself. I researched internal impingement, and found out about the causes, symptoms and treatment options for this common injury. I was fortunate in being able to attend two physiotherapy appointments related to shoulder injuries, and see exactly how professionals work towards reducing the pain.

I first attended Ms.Mulder’s appointment, and learned about how manipulation can loosen tightened areas, and slowly help with recovery. I also got some information on the spine, and how it is connected to several other areas of the body. I was able to see how technology (electrical current) could be used to help with treatment, and learned about how different factors can contribute to stiffness and pain. The second appointment I attended was my mom’s massage therapy session, where I learned why injuries often occur in car accidents, and got to experience a different atmosphere than other clinics I had been to.

In the middle of my research on the shoulder, Waleed, a former classmate of mine, heard about the project I was doing and offered to help get me in contact with his brother who was a physiotherapist. I emailed Hussam, who kindly agreed to let me interview him over the phone to get an idea about what physical therapy is like as a career path. I asked him about where he studied, why he enjoys his job, and what challenges he has to overcome on a regular basis. I also learned about why he chose to study physiotherapy over medicine, and received advice on things to consider before pursuing physiotherapy as a career.

By this point in the course, things were really starting to get rolling, and I even got to set up my session with my mentor. I visited the Trailside Physio Clinic, and we went over how to perform the initial test, the resistance test and the knee stability test. I tried the knee stability test on Travis, under his guidance, and got the feel of what to feel and look for while assessing patients. I also got to meet some of his current patients, and learn about their injuries and current exercise programs and treatments. Later on, I ended up performing these tests and filmed them as my final challenge which I will explain later.

During my research, I also took some time to look at the ankles, learning about the positions and motions of the feet, as well as the different stages of the gait cycle. I learned about overpronation, oversupination, and other causes for ankle injuries, as well as how to treat them within the first 72 hours. I finished up my research with taking a few days to learn about the back and spine, focusing on the basic overview (spinal cord and curvatures) and a brief look at injuries.

The last part of my project was to complete a challenge or “rigorous test” that would prove that I had met my goals in the project and had a successful learning experience. Although I altered the details about the test that I had initially written in the proposal, I was still able to perform the main focus of the challenge. I found a family member that was willing to be a patient, and performed the tests I learned from my mentor in order to assess the patient’s condition. Unfortunately, we ran out of time to perform the challenge in the clinic under the guidance of my mentor; however, I compromised by doing the assessment alongside a Youtube demonstration in order to refer back to it when I needed help. I was satisfied with the completion of the challenge, and was proud of the fact that I was able to finish it, even if it was not the exact vision I had in mind before beginning the project.

Throughout the course, I learned a lot about physiotherapy, and even more about all the information you need to know before beginning to assess injuries. I originally assumed that it would be difficult, but I did not expect to alter the original proposal as much as I had until I actually started the research. I am amazed by how many pieces there are to the human body, and how each of them interact in order to allow us to move and function. The notes I have taken will form a good basic portfolio of knowledge that I can refer back to in the future, and add to if I continue my studies. The success of the project would not have been possible without the help of so many people who all guided and supported me along the way, and I appreciate the time they dedicated to helping me learn and grow.

In the future, I would definitely be interested in continuing my studies and possibly pursuing physiotherapy as a career. I would like to look into the Kinesiology course offered at UBC, and will be looking forward to Biology 12 next year and learning more about the Human Body. This course provided me with a good introduction to see what physical therapy is like, and now the next step is to begin memorizing terms and trying out new classes. Overall, I believe this was a successful project, and it was an incredible experience. I am glad I made the decision to try the course, and I would love to see where other students will take it in the future!

 

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