Mummers Strut in Parade after JeffFit Rehab

Mummer Rodger McLaughlin

Mummer Rodger McLaughlin, Wild Rovers New Year’s Association (NYA) under Murray in the Comic Division

Rodger, Wild Rovers New Year’s Association (NYA) under Murray in the Comic Division

Rodger McLaughlin chalked up his heel pain to too many steps during a weekend of chores. But he happened to mention it to his podiatrist, Valentino Ciullo, DPM. Upon examination, Dr. Ciullo discovered a lump at the back of Rodger’s heel, indicated a problem with the Achilles tendon. He ordered an MRI and put Rodger in a boot to immobilize the ankle.

The MRI showed a tear in the Achilles and Rodger was instructed to keep using the boot so the tendon would heal.

Rodger kept working with the boot on and by the end of four weeks his knee was getting very sore from the extra stress. Now, one leg had a torn Achilles and the other had a bad knee.

“That used to be my ‘good’ knee,” Rodger said. His doctor recommended physical therapy.

Rodger called his son (who also happens to be the Wild Rovers’ Captain) and warned him that he would not be able to march in the 2015 Mummers’ Parade. He could barely walk and had a hard time getting in and out of the car. A three mile walk up Broad Street seemed far out of reach.

Enter Michelle Alby, Physical Therapist at JeffFit Rehabilitation located at Jefferson’s Methodist campus in South Philadelphia.

“Unless the injury is acute, happening in recent week, most individuals have multiple areas affected,” said Michelle. “Priority is given to the area with the greatest need or to the area that is affecting others.”

Michelle and Rodger set two goals. The first was to lessen the pain in the knee and Achilles. The second goal was set for January 1, 2015 – his 30th Anniversary of strutting in the Mummer’s Day Parade with his club, the Wild Rovers.

Michelle worked with Rodger on exercises to correct the damage in the knee, which he would need to do the exercises for the Achilles. She taught him how to move safely, without twisting the knee.

“The easiest tip for Rodger and most clients with lower extremity joint pain is to find and maintain a neutral posture,” said Michelle. “As adults, we specialize our body to specific tasks, meaning long durations of sitting, repetitive lifting or bending, forcing it to assume postures outside of neutral. I often remind my clients to pay attention to their children or grandchildren. Their posture is usually perfect.”

“I got a little better every day,” said Rodger.

By the end of December, Rodger knew he would meet both of his goals. The pain was reduced and he was set to march.

“Michelle is a miracle worker,” Rodger said.

Mummer Jimmy Penza

Mummer Jimmy Penza, Marshall for the Jokers in the Fancy Brigade

Jimmy, Marshall for the Jokers in the Fancy Brigade

A self-described “behind the scenes guy,” for the Jokers, Jimmy Penza thought he would be sitting out his 55th Mummers’ Day Parade.

Jimmy was experiencing pain in his lower back. He thought it was due to his two hip replacements, so he went to see his orthopedic surgeon. After ruling out a couple of other diagnoses, an MRI revealed disk issues in Jimmy’s L3/L4 and L4/L5.

The doctor said surgery was an option, but recommended physical therapy as a first step. Jimmy started therapy at JeffFit Rehabilitation in November.

“I was not confident that I’d walk in the parade,” Jimmy said.

Treatment included stretches and exercises to strengthen Jimmy’s core. After four weeks of therapy, he started seeing results. By December, he knew that he would meet his goal of participating in the parade.

“It was a good parade. We had a different route, but there were good crowds,” said Jimmy.


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