NORTH LIBERTY- A unique approach to physical wellness in North Liberty has arrived in Kepros Physical Therapy & Performance.
The office opened in August as the third Kepros branch of the Corridor, providing primarily physical therapy, as well as performance training. While the practice treats a fair number of athletes, Kepros welcomes people of all ages and lifestyles, approaching both from a proactive and reactive standpoint.
"I look at everyone as an athlete," noted owner and physical therapist Ted Kepros. "If I have an 80-year old, and they've got to be able to get up and cook for themselves because they live alone, that's their athletic performance every day. So they have to be prepared for it."
Eager to serve
One of the office's hallmarks is its free injury consults (FIC). Kepros said offering it has proven to reduce healthcare costs, give people an easier access point and allow them to heal quicker. The practice also offers an annual physical therapy exam, which evaluates strength, flexibility, cardiovascular shape and motor patterns. Kepros insists on giving patients the opportunity to take care of a problem before it spreads into multiple issues.
The office provides direct access treatment, which is covered by most insurance providers, allowing those in the community suffering from nagging pain to stop by without a physician referral. Studies on direct access to physical therapy point to benefits like avoiding unnecessary diagnostics, excessive physician visits and time off work, Kepros said.
Kepros aims to come to decisive conclusions through the study of behavioral and motor patterns to deliver a solution.
"If I see somebody who 10 years ago hurt their knee, they're going to tend to walk and splint their knee and not even know they're doing it. That lends to back pain and other complications," the therapist explained. "But if we can change that pattern and teach them how to walk again, then they can walk, run, go up and down stairs and they don't have the potential for further reversible issues that are otherwise going to ensue."
The necessary tools
Kepros' new 28,000 square-foot facility includes private rooms and open space for training, with an abundance of equipment including a Total Gym and video screen analysis; using Apple TV, a therapist can draw lines on a monitor to highlight a patient's weaknesses. While the older population may be initially intimidated by the variety of equipment his facilities provide, Kepros said it doesn't take long to see positives strides.
"It's neat to see that progression, because once they get to that point and they start actually doing it, they feel very confident and comfortable and it changes their perspective on what they're able to do."
Kepros also relies on basic tools such as the Y Balance Test. Using a series of interlocking parts, the device uses three movements in a single-leg stance position to test symmetry, motor patterns and balance and has statistically shown to be an effective predictive tool for women at risk for ACL injury. The office also borrows from the Turkish get-up exercise to teach how to get up from the floor properly.
Dry needling is also provided at Kepros branches. Similar to acupuncture, the treatment emphasizes Western medicine to facilitate muscles.
"If you've got increased tone or muscle spasm, it's a way to reduce that," Kepros explained. "But it's also a way to facilitate the muscle because we can hook it up like you would with a car battery and literally jump start the muscle a little bit."
Kepros Physical Therapy & Performance opened its first permanent location in Cedar Rapids in 2014 and a second Marion location in 2016. Having started with just three employees, Kepros now totals 26 at its three locations.
The newest branch is run by North Liberty resident and physical therapist Steve Clark, a colleague of Kepros since 1993. The two worked for a national therapy chain before starting their own practices in Iowa. Clark ran Iowa City Physical Therapy for five years before seeking a different way to help the community.
"What I really enjoy is the clinical aspect, treating the patients, and I didn't necessarily want to deal with the administrative," he recalled. Partnering with his longtime colleague has allowed him to focus solely on patients, Clark said. Breaking away from a corporate structure has allowed Kepros to invest in local programs.
"One of my big philosophies is that a community is only as good as its lowest common denominator, so how they take care of their people that maybe are struggling," Kepros cited. "So we want to make sure we give back to those things."
The business recently participated in a yoga triathlon with Bliss Yoga Studio next door, has provided speaking events at the University of Iowa Pain Center and hosted a Sports Med Ed talk with parents at Liberty High School, to discuss injury continuum, sleep and nutrition.
In summarizing their unique approach to wellness, Clark emphasized Kepros' mission statement: "becoming better together."
"It's really a family atmosphere," Clark said. "We've got a great team of people both in Cedar Rapids, Marion and down here that we can utilize each other in our knowledge and essentially become better together."
"My biggest thing is, the more people I see, the more lives I get to touch," he remarked. "And that's a good thing."