by Erin Galvin

20 years of ankle pain and instability left Annemarie Palaya frustrated with the recovery progress she was making in physical therapy, and after an ankle reconstruction surgery she was not excited about having to go back.  This time she told her doctor that she wanted to try a new physical therapist, and a few days later Annemarie came to Performance ready to voice her opinion.

On the first day she walked into the Middletown clinic and sat down with Dr. Kayleigh Melroy. Annemarie told her, “I need to you listen to me. I have been to physical therapy before and felt like I was not heard and did not get the care that I need”. Dr. Melroy jumped to tell Annemarie that things would be nothing like that at Performance, and after a few visits Annemarie realized that was true.

Her surgery left Annemarie in a boot and needing to work on the movement in her left ankle.  “I had a new tendon, so we really had to just wake everything up again” described Annemarie.

Previously, Annemarie had problems with her right ankle and for years was overcompensating all her weight to the left. Dr. Melroy quickly realized that Annemarie needed to get her center of gravity back. Mostly, she needed to learn how to walk properly.

Annemarie started her first session slow, getting back to the basics like balance and strengthening, but quickly moved to the harder exercises like gait and stair training. With every session exercises were getting easier, she was gaining more confidence, and she was happy to be in an office with the support of the entire staff. “Every time I came in everyone there would check in on me, the people at the front desk would say “Annemarie how is your ankle”?  “The entire staff was great. I felt so comfortable there, I felt like I was with family” Annemarie enthusiastically shared.

Dr. Melroy was always happy to work with Annemarie, sharing that it was “wonderful seeing Annemarie make progress week by week. I could always see how grateful she was that she had her quality of life back. I knew how much it meant to her considering she had been struggling with pain for so long prior to coming to me for PT” Dr. Melroy said.

Annemarie felt that she could easily talk to everyone and tell them exactly how she was feeling, even if she was having a tough day and just didn’t have the strength to do one of the exercises.

One day during her session, while strengthening her ankles with some squats, she told Dr. Melroy about a pain she was feeling in her right foot, one that she had been having a few times while working on her exercises. Dr. Melroy was excited to tell her that it meant she was regaining feeling in her right foot!

All these years Annemarie went without realizing she didn’t have sensation in her right foot, and after just 2 months her feet and ankles were not only working properly, but she gained back her center of gravity, leading her to walk appropriately again. Best of all, she could dance!

Annemarie came to performance just hoping to get her left ankle to a place where she would be able to walk again but was thrilled to be leaving with full strength in both her ankles. Now, she can keep up with her children and goes on walks with her daughter every day. Annemarie has a busy life and being able to keep up with everything, pain-free, was something she is so grateful for. “It was such a great feeling leaving that place” she happily shared.

During her last session, Dr. Melroy made sure to check in with Annemarie and see if there was anything she needed to continue her home sessions, but Annemarie felt that she had all the tools she needed to continue her exercises on her own.

Annemarie finally graduated from physical therapy with the confidence she hoped for!

Recently Annemarie has been having some trouble with her shoulder and for the first time is excited about going back to physical therapy for treatment. She told her doctor “I need to go back to Performance! You need to send me back to Kayleigh”.