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Patient of the Month: John

Since 2012, John C. has celebrated his August 9th birthday walking across his favorite six bridges in New York City. "Years ago, I had a large student loan debt, and I wanted to celebrate my birthday without spending a lot of money," adds John. "So I decided to cross all of these bridges in one day, walking from one neighborhood to another, totaling about thirty miles. Now that my loans are paid off, I still enjoy celebrating my birthday with this tradition. I am outside and not in my office answering the phone or responding to email. It's a day just to enjoy being a New Yorker."

John spends the entire day walking. He starts on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge. John will then walk to 125th Street to the Tri-borough Bridge Pedestrian Walkway through Randall's Island and into Queens. Then he will walk through Astoria, south to Long Island City and across the 59th Street Bridge back into Manhattan. After a stroll down the east side, he will cross the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn. He picks up the Manhattan Bridge into Chinatown and finally ends his journey crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.

In this day-long adventure, which he often celebrates on a weekday to avoid crowds and tourists, John listens to podcasts and music and stops at local bodegas for lunch and snacks. While friends may join for different parts of his walk, John mainly enjoys the solitude and reflection of this yearly adventure. "The Manhattan Bridge probably offers the best scenery. The loud noise from subways as they cross is a bit much, but the view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the downtown skyline is amazing. Another unique view I enjoy is while on the Triborough Bridge from Randalls Island to Astoria. The footbridge guardrail is lower, making the vantage point of the East River largely unobstructed."

In previous years, John’s annual walkathon had not required much recovery, but after this year’s walk, he discovered pain in his IT Band and hip. He saw an orthopedic doctor and subsequently began a rehabilitation program at Sutton Place Physical Therapy in Midtown East with Ben Musselman, PT, DPT. "I had experienced this type of pain before, but it would usually go away in a day or two. When it persisted for several weeks after my birthday walk, I thought I should get it checked out," adds John.

"The IT band is a multipurpose tendon that runs down the length of the outer thigh, from the top of the pelvis (ilium) to the shin bone (tibia), adds Ben. "To help John alleviate his pain, we needed to work on muscle flexibility, strength, and range of motion. It was important to me that his gait was back to what it was before the pain started, adds Ben.

"In just a few short weeks, I was rehabilitated,” said John. Ben helped him strengthen his IT band, and he is now pain-free. "I can run again and will have no limitations with my yearly walk”, adds John. "Ben showed me how to strengthen my body and how to avoid putting additional stress on the IT band area in the future."