Mike Reiman, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, ATC, FAAOMPT, CSCS

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Dr. Reiman is an assistant professor of physical therapy and the co-director of the orthopaedic manual therapy fellowship program at Duke University Medical Center. As a clinician, Reiman has more than 20 years of experience assessing, rehabilitating, and training athletes and clients. He has presented on orthopedic assessment and treatment methods at national and international conferences and actively participates in research regarding various testing methods for orthopedic examination and intervention and human performance. Reiman co-authored Functional Testing in Human Performance and has written 12 book chapters and more than 40 peer-reviewed articles. He also recently released a new textbook entitled Orthopedic Clinical Examination.

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Reiman received his doctoral degree in physical therapy from MGH Institute of Health Professions and is currently pursuing his PhD. In addition to his certifications as an athletic trainer and strength and conditioning specialist, Reiman is a manual therapy fellow through the American Academy of Orthopedic and Manual Physical Therapists, a USA Weightlifting level 1 coach, and a USA Track and Field level 1 coach. He is also the chair of the Sports Section Hip Special Interest Group of the American Physical Therapy Association.

What made you decide to pursue fellowship training?

I was practicing as a sports medicine clinician (treating semi-pro, college and high school athletes) primarily for extremity injuries and was also teaching part-time. A full-time position for teaching became available to teach the spine, which was not exactly my wheelhouse at the time. So, I decided to go full into commitment to learning mode, including pursuing fellowship training in manual therapy. I was already an OCS, SCS and an ATC.

What fellowship program did you attend?

The Manual Therapy Institute based in San Marcos, Texas.

What did your fellowship program entail (as far as specific training, etc…)?

It was (and is) a part-time fellowship over 2.5 years with weekend intensive courses, quizzes, exams, live patient exams, fellowship hours, the whole nine yards as required by AAOMPT. Pieter Kroon and Tim Kruchowsky, the fellowship directors, did a great job of exposing us to various schools of thought, ideas and treatment approaches while challenging our reasoning processes.

Are you trained in any specific areas of manual therapy (i.e. Maitland, McKenzie, etc…), if so, why did you choose that area?

I have had exposure to various areas, including Maitland, McKenzie and osteopathy. Those areas were chosen due to various reasons, but mainly including opportunity, accessibility, colleagues with these backgrounds and wanting to investigate in those areas specifically at the time. Being a practicing clinician for over 20 years, I have had exposure to several other areas of manual therapy as well (e.g. tool assisted, active release).

What advice would you give to new grads aspiring to pursue residency/fellowship training?

I get asked this question frequently since I teach in the PT program at Duke University. It is encouraging to see so many students that are highly motivated to pursue residency/fellowship training. The most frequent questions in this regard that I get are if a student should do a residency vs. fellowship, both, and when to do them (e.g. right after school for residency). This is always a personal decision based on where you are. It is important to get great mentorship early in your career, whether it is with a residency (later with a fellowship) or in clinical practice. Some students need to go out and just get repetition of asking questions, performing examinations, progressing patients, etc. For these students, I think it is likely better to wait a year prior to residency and/or pursue fellowship if that is their goal. As the primary clinical mentor in our fellowship, I prefer a clinician that has seen a lot of patients, has a lot of questions on why things are perhaps not going as well as they had anticipated, etc. While it is extremely important to see as many numbers and types of patients as you can before, during and after residency/fellowship training, the most important thing is what you learned/took away from each of those encounters.

New clinicians will have aspects in their practice that they will struggle in. It is important to learn to appreciate this and learn from it to not recycle these struggles. One of my favorite quotes I use with the students is “If physical therapy was black and white, you would be extremely bored. Learn to appreciate the gray in physical therapy.” For some this happens early in their career, for others it takes time. Enjoy the ride!

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