Copeman physiotherapist gets young soccer star back on the pitch (2)

How one young Edmonton soccer star recovered from possible career-ending injury

As an active 14-year-old, Carly Johnston has had her share of bruises and pulled muscles.

But when she rolled her ankle and heard a “pop” during a recent soccer game, her mom, Giovanna, knew that this injury would likely take more than a bag of frozen peas to fix.

Luckily, as clients of Copeman Healthcare Centre in Edmonton, Giovanna was able to get Carly in to see their Copeman physiotherapy team right away.

The diagnosis? Carly had torn her anterior talofibular (outer ankle) ligament – an injury that’s not only painful but also highly susceptible to re-injury.

“Unfortunately, our family is always doing stuff like this,” admits Giovanna. “Carly’s very involved in sports, from playing soccer and volleyball to equestrian and running – so having occasional injuries is just part of it. Knowing we can get in to see someone quickly makes dealing with those injuries much easier.”

It was convenience, in fact, that brought the Johnston family to the Copeman Healthcare Centre in the first place. Clients since 2013, Giovanna notes that it was her husband that made them switch to the Copeman team.

“The care that he and our whole family have received has been exceptional. Everyone is just so caring, calm and genuine right from the receptionists all the way through to our physiotherapist, Joey Mo,” says Giovanna.

Joey Mo is one of the physiotherapists at Copeman in Edmonton and is the one who took care of Carly’s latest injury. A graduate of the University of Alberta’s Physical Therapy Masters program, Joey is certified in taping, acupuncture, dry needling and vestibular therapy. He joined the Copeman team a couple of years ago because he believed in Copeman’s unique approach to healing.

Copeman Healthcare’s unique approach to physiotherapy

With Joey and the Copeman physio team, Carly was in good hands from the start. From assessment through rehabilitation and re-introduction to activities, Copeman physiotherapy treatment plans are both intensive and highly individualized.

“At Copeman, physiotherapy is one-on-one and uninterrupted, so there’s no worry of having an improper diagnosis or getting injured doing exercises incorrectly,” says Joey. “It’s intensive and weekly, leading to faster recovery with a more economical outcome in the long run, especially since we focus on future prevention.

“Throughout the treatment process, we communicate with all members of the recovery team: parents, coaches and trainers. We use the latest research and clinical evidence to power our treatments, and we offer as many services as possible in one place so our athletes get comprehensive treatment. So taping, manual therapy, needling and exercise prescription can all be done under one roof, without wasting time driving around to see other practitioners. It’s a winning scenario for the client.”

Case in point – approaching Carly’s care

According to Joey, rehab is more than healing clients’ ligaments with exercise and discharging them when they appear ready—you have to also be prepared to go outside the box.

Knee and ankle ligament injuries are among the most common soccer injuries, and women are at even greater risk with injury rates for ACLs—three to five times higher than men. Carly’s healing is also dramatically different than the adult population due to the additional pressure of competitive sport.

“Carly plays a sport with a significant team dynamic, so there are stressors from trainers and coaches to get on the field and play,” Joey says. “We have to consider these factors and think big picture when taking on a case like this. It’s not just about improving this particular injury; we need to consider prevention so she doesn’t re-injure herself.

“It’s a lot to consider. Without the time and environment provided by a clinic like Copeman, this would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, in a regular community physiotherapy scenario. Here, we can cultivate a relationship of trust with our clients.”

Carly herself can attest to that fact.

“Everyone there is so friendly and nice, from getting us tea to fitting us in around my school schedule,” she says. “And Joey’s really good at explaining everything that’s going on in a way that I can understand. He lets me know why I need to do certain exercises and what I can do at home to help things heal and strengthen so that we can help prevent other injuries in the future.”

Carly’s progress today

A couple of months since Carly’s treatment ended, she’s happy to be back on the pitch with her teammates. And Joey’s happy to report there’s been no re-injury.

“The entire Johnston family are all wonderful individuals,” he says. “And while I don’t want to see any of them anymore – because that means they’re injured – I’ll always be around for an assessment, an emailed piece of advice or on the other end of the phone whenever they need me.”

For more information on physiotherapy services at Copeman Healthcare, please click here.