We are pleased to announce that we are performing pre-placement screenings for AEP and FERRELL GAS.

The employer who truly understands both the demands of the job and the physical capabilities of the employee can make a perfect match.

HPT Physical Therapy Specialists WORC Department can help you determine whether a perspective employee is capable of doing the job for which he or she is considered.

For more information, contact Denise Juan or Jason Zeigler at Huntington Physical Therapy @ 304-525-4445.

Huntington Physical Therapy celebrates three decades of service, growth and dedication to the community


Sally Oxley’s dream motivated her to action.

The owner and CEO of HPT Physical Therapy Specialists, located at 2240 5th Ave., said the past 30 years of business — moving, building and expanding — were all a result of how she dreamed the practice of physical therapy could be.

“You have these dreams of how things ought to be, how patients should be treated and the kind of care they should receive,” said Oxley, a physical therapy and certified hand therapist, gesturing at the building around her. “All of this allowed us to make that happen.”

Oxley began her career at a local orthopedics business and made the decision to open her own practice in 1982, in a small 500-square-foot office at the Highlawn Medical Building. Physical therapist Mark Taylor joined her shortly thereafter.

“I wanted the independence of being in private practice, of being able to make decisions and change directions quickly,” Oxley said.

The business grew steadily, adding employees up to a total of 10 therapists by 1992.

“We outgrew that space pretty fast and decided we needed to find someplace bigger,” Oxley said.

That bigger space became the former Danco building located a stone’s throw from the then-newly constructed Marshall University football stadium. It boasted 66,000 square feet that took the business to another level.

“Moving to this building allowed us to do a lot of different things. We were able to expand our sports injury treatment and our industrial rehab business with a warehouse space to mimic the workplace of an injured worker,” Oxley said. “Opening this building expanded our opportunities to advance what we do.”

Today, the practice boasts six therapists and five physical therapy assistants who join a support staff of nearly 15 others.

HPT, also known to the community at Huntington Physical Therapists, is building a new neurological division focused on working with individuals with Parkinson’s disease or those recovering from strokes. They offer a fitness program and open gym/exercise area with workout equipment and treatment tables as well as private treatment rooms. Tennis courts in the back of the business are available and occupied by the Marshall University tennis team during winter months. The facility, which includes 220 off-street parking spots, also features the HIT Center, a high-intensity training center dedicated to personal training and athletic performance. Ohio Valley Physicians has an office upstairs.

Oxley said the practice’s patients, which have numbered 75,000 over three decades, have grown fond of their open-door policy and generational care.

“One thing about us, people just pull up and walk in and ask to be seen. This is just a service we’ve always provided,” Oxley said. “We’re seeing four and five generations of the same family, someone we treated years ago is coming in and bringing their daughter or their granddaughter.

“When someone comes in and says, ‘I saw you 25 years ago,’ that’s a good feeling,” she said.

Oxley’s son, John, now a doctor of physical therapy and a member of the HPT practice since 2006, grew up in the physical therapy environment.

He said his goal is helping his mother grow the practice into the future.

“I want us to be on the cutting edge of orthopedics and outpatient physical therapy, and to do that you have to keep getting, keeping, educating and training the best people out there,” John said.

“I want John to help me continue to take care of this community,” Oxley said. “We’re grateful to this community and the physicians here for have faith enough in us to send patients here and to continue coming here for care.” Clinical director Kevin Burton, who has been with the practice since 1993, said what HPT provides is true “physical” therapy.

“What it’s all about is things like a kid from Paintsville, Ky., who travels 90 minutes here to get physical therapy because of the services we provide,” Burton said. “We really are about ‘physical’ therapy. We want to get people back to whatever they want to get back to so they can enjoy their lives to the fullest.”

HPT 30th Year Anniversary

2012 is a big year for Huntington Physical Therapy.  We are celebrating 30 years of service to the community.

Look for our booth at Pullman Square on Thursday, August 23 at the Heiner’s Bedford Ford Pullman Concert Series and ChiliFest Saturday, September 15th.

HPT is Dedicated to Great Results!

When Orthotics Are Appropriate

By: Kelly Akers, PT

Orthotic intervention has been greatly studied over the last 25 years.  In very simple terms an orthotic is an insert placed in a shoe to help address standing foot structure.  It is generally accepted that custom foot orthotics are an effective treatment for some knee pain, plantar fasciitis and a variety of other overuse injuries.  However, in recent years, a more minimalist approach to footwear has become popular.  The minimalist approach basically puts less emphasis on orthotics and uses shoes with very limited support, such as the popular Vibram five finger shoe.  Because of the shift in the academic research arena and the retail industry to the minimalist approach this raises the question, “when is it appropriate to recommend orthotics to a patient?”

In the pediatric population it is important to consider whether or not the child is reaching their developmental milestones within the appropriate timeframe.  In many instances developmental delay has nothing to do with foot alignment but in a small subset of children this can be a contributing factor. In this group of children a comprehensive evaluation of foot structure and lower extremity alignment is imperative.  Great benefits can be achieved with addressing standing foot structure using orthotics because correcting the abnormality at the foot and ankle then restores normal gait mechanics and allows for increases in activity tolerance.

In the athletic population two different scenarios will lead us to look into the possibility of orthotics.  The first example would be the athlete who is not having foot or lower leg pain but its determined that he/she has a deviation from normal foot alignment that is decreasing speed and efficiency with running.  Recent research has shown that an appropriate custom orthotic can improve endurance running performance up to 12%. Often there is not a pair of shoes that will accommodate these deviations and orthotics can be very helpful. 

The second example would be the athlete who is frequently and without explanation suffering from recurrent overuse injuries.  In many of these cases abnormal foot alignment can be to blame due to the increased stress placed on structures that are not designed or accustomed to the increased workload.  Orthotic management can create improved foot alignment, improved running efficiency, and decreased pain by simply decreasing the burden on overworked structures. In both of these different examples it is important to investigate the least invasive combination of orthotics and footwear that will decrease energy expenditure and pain while also increasing efficiency and comfort with foot strike.   It is important to note, however, that many alignment deformities do not cause pain or decreased efficiency with activity.  If the athlete is able to maintain the proper strength and dynamic control of the foot/ankle, and appropriately progresses the time and intensity of their training, they may participate in years of athletic endeavors with no problem.

In the case of an acute injury, an orthotic may be used in conjunction with mechanical treatment to achieve pain relief.  This practice is utilized in an effort to immobilize or reduce the level of strain on the injured structure.  This allows for healing and strengthening of the injured structure with plans to remove the orthotic when enough healing has taken place to withstand the stresses of normal footwear.

In writing this article it was my goal to not only outline the benefits of orthotics but also the appropriate uses in individual patients.  It cannot however be understated the importance of treatment of the underlying problem in conjunction with an orthotic device to achieve optimum results.  Orthotics need to be used as an adjunct to treatment by a trained professional.  It is not appropriate to simply put an orthotic in a shoe and hope for the best.  This frequently leads to dissatisfaction and ultimately can lead to more problems.  For this reason I suggest treatment by a trained medical professional to address the cause of pain either in the foot, knees, hips, or spine.  This evaluative process ensures that the most appropriate and cost efficient treatment is being utilized and delivered.  It can also eliminate the dependency and hassle of orthotics for those patients who are no longer realizing any benefit from the orthotic they were given in the past.

SOLE Brand Custom Orthotics

HPT is now offering SOLE brand custom orthotics for $50 a pair.  Free assessment and fitting for all current patients.  If you have any questions, call 304-525-4445 and ask to talk to Kevin or Kelly.

Keeping your athletes’ shoulder healthy and in the game

What do baseball, tennis, and softball have in common?  They are all spring sports that require intense overhead activity.  Whether it be throwing or serving there is a potential for overuse and aggravation to the shoulder joint.  Shoulder injuries are the fifth most common injury in high school athletes and while many of them are collision injuries; as many as 42% of them are non-contact injuries. 

The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body, and because of this, there is a fragile equilibrium between stability and mobility.  This is referred to as the “throwers dilemma”.  To understand shoulder injuries in athletes one must first understand what is required to make a throw or hit a serve. First, the shoulder blade must be strong and moving properly around the ribcage.  Without the strong stable platform of the scapula for the arm bone to move on, you will not achieve maximum velocity.  If the arm does not move properly then you can be setting yourself up for injury.  Second, is actual shoulder flexibility and range of motion (ROM).  There is a structure in the shoulder called the capsule that allows just enough motion but prevents joint dislocation.  But when it is repeatedly traumatized with throwing or serving it can become too tight or even too loose.  It is worth noting however, that if you’re someone who participates frequently in an overhead sport your shoulder range of motion will change and not necessarily for the worse. 

The final aspect of the throw to understand is the kinetic chain.  The kinetic chain essentially refers to the transfer of forces from your feet to your wrist and everything in between. The kinetic chain can easily be ignored when athletes are having shoulder pain but many times the problem can be created or at least exacerbated by weakness or loss of flexibility in the legs and trunk. Research has shown that 54% of the force in a throw or serve comes from the leg, hip, and trunk. Training these frequently ignored areas can take stress off of the shoulder joint and simultaneously increase speed.  This is especially important for adolescents who are participating in overhead sports because of the fact that they are still growing.  As children grow they can become less flexible which can lead to less force production out of their bodies. So it is important to try and stay ahead of the growth curve with specific stretching and strengthening exercises. 

            What I am advocating is a preventative plan to decrease the possibility of injury.  This may involve a detailed evaluation by a medical professional or simply an at home plan that focuses on flexibility first and secondly strength.  It has never been more important than it is now, because kids are spending so much time playing one sport.  Many of today’s youth sports are year around which means there is little time for rest or other sports which may help train flexibility and strength that one sport neglects.  Also, Healthcare is more expensive today than ever before.  With a preventative program you can hold on to more of your money, and keep your athlete on the field or court having fun.

John Oxley is a physical therapist at Huntington Physical Therapy.  The focus of his practice is spine care and shoulder rehabilitation.  You can reach him by emailing joxley@hptservices.com

7 Tips to Better Sleeping


Feeling crabby lately? Or simply worn out? Perhaps the solution is better sleep.

Think about all the factors that can interfere with a good night’s sleep — from pressure at work and family responsibilities to unexpected challenges, such as layoffs, relationship issues or illnesses. It’s no wonder that quality sleep is sometimes elusive. 

Here at seven tips to a better night’s sleep: 

No. 1: Stick to a sleep schedule 

No. 2: Pay attention to what you eat and drink

No. 3: Create a bedtime ritual 

No. 4: Get comfortable 

No. 5: Limit daytime naps 

No. 6: Include physical activity in your daily routine 

No. 7: Manage stress


You’re not doomed to toss and turn every night. Consider these simple tips for better sleep.

Bicycling and other Exercises for Parkinson’s

Check out the article regarding bicycling and other exercises that may help people curb their Parkinson’s symtpoms.  The article is featured in the Washington Post National.  You can go to the news page on our website and click on the Article. The link will take you to the Washington Post National where the article is featu

Kelly Akers, PT runs in the Walt Disney Marathon

Congratulations to Kelly Akers!  She ran the Walt Disney marathon on Sunday, January 8, 2012.   There were 13, 478 runners that finished the race on a route that took the participants through the four parks with entertainment the whole way.  

Again, congratulations to Kelly for running the Walt Disney Marathon.

The Up Side “Quotes From Positive Thinkers”

“Winning does not always mean coming in first… real victory is in arriving at the finish line with no regrets because you know you’ve gone all out.”

“How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.”

“Spirituality isn’t static. It’s an evolving optimism that won’t let hardship get the best of you.”

“Beauty is not generic. Quite often, the thing that makes you memorable is the thing that makes you different.”

“Open your heart..Open it wide; someone is standing outside.”

Happy New Year from the staff of HPT. May 2012 bring everyone joy, happiness and peace.