Dynamic Duo

State-of-the-art treatment regimen restores mobility, balance.

Photos by Jordan Pysz

Leanna Ramirez (left) treats Rick’s knee with the Class IV deep tissue laser.

When Mikhail Baryshnikov and Liza Minnelli danced together on a Broadway stage for the taping of a 1980 television special, critics raved that the two world-renowned entertainers were at their breathtaking best. Rick Foti doesn’t disagree.

Alongside his father-in-law, Rick was part of the camera crew that captured that show for all to see. Nearly 40 years later, he still lists that performance as one of the most memorable moments of his ongoing career as a cameraman. Which is saying a lot.

Now 68, Rick is currently the video production manager for Hernando County, but he’s been behind the camera for a long list of national and international events, including various sporting events, Miss America Pageants and The All New Mickey Mouse Club.

Rick also plays drums in a classic-rock cover band, serves in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and holds a place on the board of directors of the Hernando County Fairgrounds. He’s a busy man who, back in April, suddenly found himself sidelined by a knee injury.

“I was setting up the band, and when I took a step backward, I got a heel stuck in the dirt and hyperextended my left knee,” Rick explains. “The actual injury was a torn meniscus, and I had surgery to repair and clean up my knee in May.”

Doctor Recommended

Following the surgery, Rick was ordered to avoid putting pressure on the knee for six weeks. He was then advised to begin rehabilitation on the knee, and on the advice of his surgeon, he chose to do the rehab at Regional Rehab in Spring Hill.

“The doctor who did my surgery had the very same surgery I had, and he highly recommended Regional Rehab,” Rick states. “I still did my own research on the place, but the ratings were all exceptional, so I agreed with the surgeon and
went there.”

“The folks at Regional Rehab got me up and moving again. . . . They did an incredible job.” Rick

At Regional Rehab, Rick met Charles Donley, PT, and Paul Ernandes, PT, who recommended rehabilitating Rick’s knee through a combination of manual therapy and treatments using the Class IV deep tissue therapeutic laser and the HIVAMAT® 200 deep oscillation therapy device.

The Class IV laser uses specific wavelengths of red and near-infrared light to stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal cells. It works by releasing nitric oxide, which removes congestion and swelling, promotes rapid healing and reduces discomfort while increasing blood circulation.

The HIVAMAT 200 creates gentle impulses that relax muscles and penetrate all tissue layers to remove the inflammatory byproducts from the cells that cause pain but are not part of the cells’ natural makeup.

“The Class IV laser in particular is an impressive and versatile tool,” notes Charles, the director of Regional Rehab. “We use it for burn and wound patients as well as for all the different musculoskeletal issues we typically treat such as acute, chronic and postoperative pain.”

Laser Light Show

Photos by Jordan Pysz

Even at age 95, George is still flying high

George Pasternack can attest to the versatility of the Class IV laser. Like Rick, George was treated with the Class IV laser after he was advised by a friend to visit Regional Rehab in an effort to correct a severe imbalance disorder.

“Whenever I stood up or tried to walk, I got this feeling that I was going to fall over,” says George, a former World War II pilot who, at 95 years of age, is the oldest licensed pilot still flying in the United States.

George’s imbalance issues were so great that they forced him to walk “all hunched over and bent at the waist, the way older people do,” he says. In time, he adds, they forced him to walk that way with the aid of a cane.

“That’s how he was when he first came to see us,” says Paul. “I thought at first that he was suffering from dizziness, because he was very unsteady, but after I examined him, I realized it was neuropathy in his lower legs that was causing the imbalance.”

To correct the problem, Paul recommended treatment using the Class IV laser and a combination of manual therapy that included a series of stretching and balance exercises. That combination helped George regain his stability and got him back on his feet.

“Once we were able to stretch him out, George did great with the balance exercises,” Paul confirms. “But it was the laser treatment that made the biggest difference and really helped him with the sensation in his legs.”

“As soon as Paul started working on me, I knew I was in the right place. . . . I left there feeling like my old self again.” – George

George concurs, noting that he was at a point where he was afraid to leave his house because he feared he’d lose his balance and fall. Now, he’s not only leaving his house, he’s flying again. He doubts that would be the case were it not for Regional Rehab.

“As soon as Paul started working on me, I knew I was in the right place,” George exudes. “His knowledge and level of professionalism are just remarkable. I knew what he was doing was going to help me, and when we were done, I left there feeling like my old self again.

“And that’s saying a lot, because I had lost so much stability that it was scary. But he took care of that and helped me one hundred percent. I’m not kidding you when I say Paul has that magic touch, because I feel so much better now.”

So does Rick. He first visited Regional Rehab six weeks after undergoing his knee surgery, which was in accordance with his doctor’s recommendation. He then spent a month rehabbing his knee, but he was back on his feet long before that.

“The folks at Regional Rehab got me up and moving again,” Rick raves. “At first, I was able to walk using only a single crutch, but eventually, I was able to walk without crutches at all, so they did an incredible job. The whole crew there is unbelievable.

“They really took their time working with me and were very attentive and understanding of my pain level. They’re like that with everybody. They really know how to deal with people.

“I was extremely comfortable with them, and I highly recommend them. I absolutely recommend them.”

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    • Regional Rehab

      Regional Rehab's ultimate goal is to enrich people’s lives by helping to enhance their physical and mental well being, creating an atmosphere of quality care and optimum healing with a loving touch.... Read More

    • Paul Ernandes, PT, PhD

      Paul Ernandes, PT, PhD, joined the Regional Rehab team in April 2018. His arrival comes after he spent nearly a year serving as the director of physical therapy at Vitality Physicians and Rehab. Paul previously worked for ten years as the dire... Read More

    • Charles C. Donley, PT

      Charles C. Donley, PT, is director of Regional Rehab. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy, graduating cum laude, from the University of Pittsburgh, PA. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and Fl... Read More