By Dr. Nate Harris
In my journey to becoming the owner of a sports physical therapy practice in Charleston, South Carolina, I have had to wear many different hats. From working as an athletic trainer with the University of South Carolina, to an athletic training intern in the NFL, to a PT intern in the MLB, to now running my own practice, I have used many different pieces of technology to rehabilitate athletes.
One piece of equipment that I knew I needed when I started my business was Bluetooth force plates. While force plates are most commonly used to condition and treat injuries to the lower body, they can also be used to rehabilitate upper body athletic injuries, which is the focus of my practice.
After some research, I decided to invest in KINVENT’s K-Deltas Force Plates, which have helped me successfully treat rotator cuff, labrum, wrist, elbow, neck and forearm injuries (among others). Because my patients have benefitted greatly from the plates, I want to highlight the unique advantages that make the K-Deltas superior to traditional methods of assessing and treating upper extremity injuries.
Precise & Accurate Data
In physical therapy, the standard method of teaching is called “manual muscle testing.” The method requires therapists to use their hands to estimate a patient’s strength during different testing procedures and is commonly used to progress patients through their rehab. It has, time and time again, been proven to be incredibly inaccurate.
Accuracy is a key value of the K-Deltas. Because the plates capture biomechanical data in real-time via Bluetooth, there is no guesswork. The K-Deltas are able to accurately and precisely measure force output for a variety of testing procedures to progress patients through their rehab.
Numbers don’t lie, and with the K-Deltas, numbers are what you get. Unlike analog testing methods (that generate data that skews qualitative), the K-Deltas produce numeric, objective measurements for tests such as pushup analysis, shoulder strength testing, elbow strength testing, and so much more. Those numbers have been transformative in my work with overhead athletes.
The data generated by the plates also gives patients a clear sense of where they are in their path to rehabilitation. KINVENT data is user-friendly and easy to access and interpret. Patients are able to quickly see their reports, as well as their progress over time. The objective data can also be shared with coaches, athletic trainers and physicians, as it is easily digestible for all members of a care team.
Speed of Testing
Conducting team strength assessments for local student and amateur sports teams is a staple service my practice provides. Prior to having the K-Deltas, I used a handheld push dynamometer to complete these objective strength tests.
During one such session, pre K-Deltas, I completed testing for a team of 16 travel baseball players in just under three hours. Fast forward to several months later when I was asked to complete the same testing for a local high school lacrosse team. Using the K-Deltas, I was able to complete the same testing for 41 athletes in less than one hour. Being able to test more than double the athletes in a third of the time is a testament to the efficiency of the plates.
My experience with K-Deltas has been transformative in rehabilitating my baseball, lacrosse and volleyball player patients’ upper body injuries. The precision, objectivity, real-time feedback, comprehensive assessments, and progress tracking offered by the K-Deltas distinguishes them as an invaluable tool in my toolkit; they effectively address the specific challenges faced by overhead athletes on their journey to recovery. As a sports physical therapist, embracing the power of KINVENT’s K-Deltas has truly elevated the standard of care I provide.