Residency Corner: Foothills Sports Medicine Orthopedic Residency

About the Program

Our residency program in Orthopedic Physical Therapy provides the physical therapist with an opportunity to develop advanced competencies in the specific area of practice that encompasses Orthopedic Physical Therapy through a planned course of clinical practice, didactic learning modules, and clinical mentoring. The residency program seeks to develop the clinician’s theoretical rationale, evaluation and treatment skills, and clinical reasoning processes in order to promote the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of injuries in an active patient population.

What You’ll Learn

The physical therapist will gain clinical experience under the mentorship of residency faculty who are board certified in the area of Orthopedic Physical Therapy (OCS) as well as professional staff who possess advanced training in manual therapy, strength and conditioning, and other treatment modalities (Postural Restoration, Dry Needling, etc.).

Through a system of structured learning opportunities, the residency program will strive to prepare the physical therapist for the successful completion of their requirements to sit for and pass their board examinations as clinical specialists in Orthopedic Physical Therapy (OCS) through the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

Residency Description

The program involves a one-year experience in a dynamic Orthopedic Physical Therapy setting incorporating a three quarter time independent clinical practice (34 hours/week), advanced didactic learning modules and established 1:1 mentored experiences in advanced clinical practice, and clinic administration.


Foothills is a regional based private practice, which includes 21 owner-operated facilities throughout Arizona. While we are a results-driven company, the results we look for aren’t in numbers but in healing people who are in pain. We provide excellent physical therapy services along with cutting-edge sports acceleration and training programs (FAST®).

Professional Staff

Foothills employs more than 80 physical therapists including those with advanced degrees and training (ABPTS Orthopedic Certified Specialists, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists, Certified Manual Therapists). We have strong relationships with our physician referral network, which includes board certified orthopedic surgeons, family practice physicians, and occupational health providers.

Foothills Sports Medicine Orthopedic Residency currently has two residents:

Carter Steele PT, DPT, CSCS As a certified strength and conditioning specialist, Carter enjoys working with active populations of all ages, and is passionate about promoting health and wellness for a better quality of life.

Michael Price PT, DPT, CSCS Michael loves to compete and continues to play basketball, volleyball, tennis, and golf. He enjoys this profession because it provides the opportunity to help patients return to what they love to do and reach their therapy goals.

What makes your residency program unique compared to other programs?

The orthopaedic residency program through Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy has many unique, appealing attributes. With clinics throughout the Phoenix area, you are able to mentor with expert clinicians at different sites. This exposure helps the residents have a greater variety of experience and expertise. Another unique feature of the residency program is that it is through an outpatient private practice. This allows residents to learn more about the business aspects of a physical therapy company

What would you consider the strengths of your program to be?

The strengths of the program include the exposure to multiple mentors, effective didactic coursework, hands-on laboratory sessions, and the opportunity for personal and professional growth.

What makes focused learning within a residency worth pursuing?

After graduation from physical therapy school, we have expansive knowledge in all aspects of physical therapy. My personal interests were in the fields of orthopaedics and sports, so being able to specialize in certain areas of interest was appealing. I wanted to be an expert in the field of orthopaedic physical therapy to help assess and treat patients most effectively and efficiently.

What advice would you give to students that are seriously interested in pursuing residency training?

Determine the true reason you want to pursue a specialty. There are sacrifices that come with a residency, but in the end, the reason you complete a residency outweighs any sacrifices. As most applicants for a residency program are excellent individuals, give yourself the best opportunity to get an interview, and prepare to set yourself apart with the interview. The interview will be your time to showcase your personality, motivation, and professionalism. 

What additional opportunities do your residents pursue after completing their training?

The residency will allow you to test to become a board certified orthopaedic specialist, but there are many other opportunities, such as helping future residents, hosting students as a clinical instructor, and following a leadership track for clinical management.

What do you look for in a quality candidate for your residency program?

A high quality resident should be personable, motivated, and committed to life-long learning and to helping others.

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