Physical Therapy: Keeping Airmen Fit to Fight

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Anabel Del Valle
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Team Tyndall’s physical therapy office is dedicated to providing Airmen the best care possible and recently opened walk-in hours every Monday from 8:20 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Walk-in patients should expect to address acute injuries such as sprained ankles, new neck and back pain or recreational injuries. For long-term issues, patients should call the physical therapy office to make an appointment. The physical therapy office is open to all active duty service members and does not require a referral from a primary care manager.

“Not only are we trying to keep our Airmen mission ready but we’re also looking out for our fellow medical family by offering walk-in hours,” explained Maj. Kristoffer Surdukowski, 325th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron physical therapy flight commander. “[Service members] often go to PCMs just to be sent to us, so we’re trying to cut PCMs out as the middle man and take some cases off of their workload.”

With over 10 years of experience as a physical therapist and a team of mutually knowledgeable Airmen, Surdowski encourages service members to take the opportunity to treat new injuries before they become chronic issues.

“In this clinic we have a lot of tools,” said Surdukoski. “We do a lot of manual techniques. We’re dry needling certified, we do therapeutic scraping and cupping. The methods may sound intimidating to some, but we can find a technique that works for everyone.”

If a patient is uncomfortable with one strategy, another method could be utilized giving the patient options for their healthcare. There are minimal techniques that the physical therapy office can’t support, which is the only time a patient would be referred to a trusted facility off-base.

For service members who may be intimidated by getting treated for an injury, Surdukowski says it is important to realize that the patient is in control. The first step is a conversation on what the patient wants from us and a treatment plan is developed from there.

“I love seeing people get better,” said Tech. Sgt. Rebecca Smen, 325th OMRS physical therapy flight chief. “A couple months back we had a patient who couldn’t move his legs as he was healing from a head surgery. Now he is jumping on boxes and walking around. We’re helping people get their life back.”