News - Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy
Thursday May 9, 2019


Sportplex West, located in Waukee
Sportplex West, located in Waukee
Sportplex West, located in Waukee

Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy is opening their seventh clinic across Iowa in Waukee on June 3. This opportunity came about after Sportplex West, an indoor sports and recreation complex, promoted their interest in a physical therapy partner on Facebook back in January.

CEO and Doctor of Physical Therapy Troy Vander Molen reached out to Jake Shandri, one of the partners at Sportsplex West, to find out more about their vision after seeing the post on Facebook. He quickly discovered their vision was very compatible with that of Kinetic Edge.

“The Sportsplex West and D1 Training teams that operate out of this facility in Waukee are leaders in the field of sports and athletic development,” shared Vander Molen. “Kinetic Edge focuses on enhancing comfort and performance through movement which blends well with the performance enhancement and athletic fundamentals training performed by Sportsplex West and D1 Training.”

Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy, formerly Work Systems Rehab & Fitness, opened in 1998 in Pella, Iowa. Their corporate office is still based out of Pella, with five additional clinic locations throughout central Iowa. In March of 2015, the company rebranded to Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy. Since then, they’ve experienced unapparelled growth as a company.

Their recent success increased their interest in finding new markets to serve. This interest in growth, however, is not simply to add pins to the map. They desire to influence people and communities with their mission to transform lives and restore hope through movement.

“After interviewing and meeting with several physical therapy groups from the Des Moines area, D1 Training Team decided Kinetic Edge was the right physical therapy group to bring the expertise that would best serve our clients and facility needs,” said Managing Partner of Sportsplex West Jake Shandri.

Both companies quickly realized that a partnership would provide a winning solution for everyone involved – Sportsplex West, D1 Training, the Waukee community and surrounding areas, and Kinetic Edge. Initially, Kinetic Edge of Waukee will be open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with plans to extend hours as demand increases. Physical Therapists Patrick Ford and Kaity Hall will operate this location.

Physical Therapists Kaity Hall & Patrick Ford
Physical Therapists Kaity Hall & Patrick Ford

“Patrick is a young therapist with an athletic background,” commented Vander Molen. “He will relate exceptionally well to the clients we will serve there. Kaity Hall’s background as an athletic trainer, in addition to her physical therapy skills, make her an extremely versatile option for the athletes there as well.”

Kinetic Edge has a 20-year history of restoring health to people with musculoskeletal problems quickly. They provide the care people need when they need it using evidence-informed techniques, which has proven to be very effective. Plus, as an independent provider of physical therapy, their lower costs generally result in lower costs to any client that has to pay a co-pay or co-insurance for each date of service. They look forward to opening and serving the community of Waukee and surrounding areas soon!

Friday May 3, 2019



Is the Kink in My Neck a Pinched Nerve?

By Dr. Troy Vander Molen, PT, DPT

By far the most common type of neck pain that people experience, especially among those of you who are younger, is described as a “kink” or “crick” in the neck. Often times, that localized area of pain makes it difficult to turn your neck one way or the other. It is, quite literally, a pain in the neck!


Over the years, I’ve had many people consult with me reporting that they have a pinched nerve in the neck, and then they proceed to describe the typical kink in the neck that makes neck movement difficult and painful. While those symptoms are not pleasant, this common type of neck pain is not a pinched nerve.

To be sure, there are nerves that travel through small openings that exist between each vertebral body in the cervical spine (and each set of spine segments traveling down the back). However, if you have a condition that compresses one of those nerve roots, you will likely have distinct symptoms that are different from a kink in the neck.

What causes a kink in the neck?

Most medical providers suggest that a painful kink in the neck is the result of muscle spasms. A leading expert in this type of pain, Dr. Robert Maigne, a French medical doctor, described common neck pain as “painful intervertebral dysfunction.” The intervertebral joint consists of several structures: the disk, the vertebral bones above and below the disk, ligaments that provide structural stability, and the facet joints, which are located both on the left and the right where one vertebral bone connects to the neighboring vertebral bone. Irritation of any of these structures can cause a painful kink and possibly headache pain.Neck-pain-2

In my many years of experience as a physical therapist, I’ve found that the facet joint is often the primary culprit. When a facet joint gets irritated, which can happen from time to time if you move wrong, posture yourself awkwardly, or have some arthritic changes in the neck, a signal is sent to the brain, and the brain will unconsciously respond by telling the muscles around the joint to spasm. This unconscious response is a natural protective mechanism for the irritated joint.

It is important to know that a kink in the neck, though painful, is not dangerous. Most people can relieve the discomfort by modifying the aggravating postures, movement, or activities and applying ice and/or heat. If the pain lasts for more than a few days, consider seeing a physical therapist trained in evaluating and treating neck dysfunction. Early intervention usually results in a short course of care, and you will feel better very quickly in most cases.

What kind of distinct symptoms are present with a pinched nerve?

Our nerves carry critical information between the brain and the body. Some of this information is sensory, which travels from the body to the brain and includes our senses of pain, numbness, tingling, burning, temperature discernment, and pressure sensitivity, among others.

Some of the information carried via the nervous system is motor, which travels from the brain to the body and helps us create voluntary and involuntary muscle actions.

Nerves can potentially be compressed both centrally as they exit from the spine and peripherally by structures like tight muscles that exist external to the spine. Spine-related issues that can put pressure on a nerve as it exits the spine (i.e. central causes) include herniated disks and other arthritis-related changes like narrowing of the disk space, disk degeneration, and bone spurring.

 Interestingly, if you are experiencing a pinched nerve, you may not even experience neck pain at all. Some do; others don’t. What you most definitely will be feeling, however, is pain, numbness, and/or tingling that extends into your arms and even your hands. Sensory changes in the arm are typically the earliest symptoms you will notice with a pinched nerve in the neck.

 Like a kink in the neck, a pinched nerve is not necessarily serious. Most pinched nerves result in sensory changes only and can be easily managed conservatively. I would recommend you seek professional consultation if you experience these types of symptoms. A well-trained physical therapist can help determine the source of the nerve compression and determine a plan of care that will help you eliminate the symptom and restore your function.

If you experience changes in muscle function in your arm and/or hand, like a loss of pinch or grip force or other signs of muscle weakness, the compressive forces on the nerve(s) are more substantial and potentially need more advanced care. Our physical therapists typically refer people with these advanced symptoms to a physician or spine specialist for diagnostic testing to determine the extent of the problem.

If you are experiencing any arm symptoms or simply have a kink in the neck, I encourage you to take advantage of one of our free injury screens. A brief and complimentary 20-minute consultation with one of Kinetic Edge’s movement experts can yield a bounty of solid advice that will put your problem to rest. Please call 866-588-0230 today to claim one of our few open slots.

Wednesday May 1, 2019


Carol Kelderman with school kids - Copy

by Lindsey Klyn, Marketing Specialist at Kinetic Edge

Carol Kelderman with school kids - CopyFor years, Carol Kelderman looked for an opportunity to use her skills as a physical therapist on a mission trip in a foreign country. She always felt a pull towards Africa, and she even researched organizations to volunteer with there over the last couple of years. For some reason, none of the opportunities she came across ever felt quite right. So, when the pastor at their church mentioned a trip to Tanzania, she inquired more to see if her skills as a physical therapist might be useful.

“I was met with a positive response so I started to prepare for this possibility with an open heart,” shared Kinetic Edge Physical Therapist Carol Kelderman. “I want more than the ‘Christian version of the American dream’, so if I have an opportunity to serve, I want to be ready and willing.”

So with an open heart, Carol boarded a plane for Tanzania on March 15 with plans to spend two weeks serving the people of Africa. After 48 hours spent traveling (22 of those hours on planes), the team of five arrived at Hope of the Nations in Kigoma, Tanzania.

Carol spent most of her time working alongside a Tanzanian nurse and Linda Verhoef, a nurse on her team. The three of them assessed and treated a wide variety of people with all sorts of conditions. Donations from Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy and Mahaska Drug allowed them to make medical kits for Hope of the Nations’ boat ministry, college, primary school, staff members, and the general community. Carol and Linda also spent time training staff at the primary school and teaching schoolkids about germs and hand sanitation.

Abu with some of his family
Abu (on lap) with some of his family

A highlight of Carol’s trip came when she met seven-year-old Abubakari, “Abu”, only a few days in to the trip. Abu contracted yellow fever when he was just days old. The yellow fever caused severe seizures and difficulty breathing, and due to limited treatment options, Abu became essentially paralyzed, unable to control his muscles or body position or communicate. This reality puts quite a strain on his family, including his mother who is pregnant with her fifth child when she and Carol met.

The team quickly realized that the right kind of chair would enable Abu to sit up and greatly help him and his mom. If Abu lived in the United States, he’d likely have a properly fit wheelchair along with physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. But in Africa, limited resources and the scarcity of medical care meant the team had to get inventive.

Abu sits  on his own in his newly created chair
Abu sits on his own in his newly created chair

“We were able to construct a chair using parts of our suitcases and help from the ladies in the sewing training center,” said Carol. “The chair provided adequate support and safety for Abu so he could remain in the main family living area where interaction with family and neighbors could happen more naturally. This also freed up mom’s hands as she is preparing for a new baby in the home.”

Carol noted that it was difficult to not be able to help to the extent she would have liked with Abu and others she met while on her trip. However, she was thankful to be reminded that much like in her hometown, education empowers and provides hope, something she and her team at Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy are quite passionate about.

“God is teaching me to be ready to serve, even outside of my comfort zone,” concluded Carol. “You never know what impact you can have on the people you encounter.”

Wednesday April 3, 2019



My hand hurts. It must be carpal tunnel. 

by Occupational Therapist Elise Spronk

As an occupational therapist, I hear this all the time. There are many myths Ashley-OTsurrounding hand and wrist pain, and I’m here to debunk one of them! The most common one I hear is that if your hand hurts or if you experience numbness or tingling in your hand, you must have carpal tunnel. While carpal tunnel does affect 4-10 million people in the U.S., pain or tingling in your hand doesn’t necessarily mean you have carpal tunnel.

In order to understand if you’re suffering from carpal tunnel or not, let’s first take a look at the symptoms of carpal tunnel.  

What symptoms are associated with carpal tunnel?

  • Numbness or tingling in the thumb, index finger, long or middle finger, and ½ of the ring finger.
  • Pain that doesn’t improve at night or with rest. This is a common tell-tale sign of nerve pain. Tendonitis will improve when you rest the muscle but nerve issues aren’t likely to improve with rest. In fact, nerve pain may cause you to awaken with increased pain and cause sleep issues.
  • Weakness in your hand, especially pinch strength. This is due to the fact that the muscles of the thumb aren’t getting adequate innervation. When looking at your hand the thenar muscles (muscle tissue at the base of the thumb) may actually be smaller or atrophied if you’ve experienced this issue for a prolonged time.

What causes carpal tunnel?

While carpal tunnel can stem from a variety of reasons, here are three of the most common causes of it:

  • Repetitive work, especially when working with fine motor tasks or in a position Hand Carpal Tunnelthat places your wrist in a bent or flexed position. This position causes compression at the carpal tunnel and takes up any extra space that may have been in the tunnel, thus cause compression on the nerve, resulting in increased numbness and tingling.
  • Working in a cold environment.
  • Working with tools that vibrate

How do I know if my wrist or hand pain isn’t carpal tunnel?

The best way to determine whether or not you have carpal tunnel is by having an examination with your therapist or physician. At Kinetic Edge, we’ll do a variety of tests to determine the root cause of your pain. If further testing is necessary, we may recommend a nerve conduction test.

However, if your small finger is the number finger, you can take a breath because that indicates you don’t have carpal tunnel! The ulnar nerve innervates the small finger and that side of the ring finger. Your pinky finger pain is more likely related to an elbow issue or inflammation at your wrist, just not at the carpal tunnel.

Another common issue often mistaken for carpal tunnel is arthritis, especially of the thumb. A therapist at Kinetic Edge can help determine if that is the issue by running you through a series of tests and then help you determine the best course of care.

What can I do to find relief?

Splinting can be used to help alleviate pain and improve your function. However, correct diagnosis is important to determine the best splint. Night time splinting will often decrease carpal tunnel symptoms. However, I would recommend a splint that keeps the fingers somewhat straight. In doing so, the tendon that attaches to the tips of the fingers is essentially pulled out of the carpal tunnel, creating increased space and taking pressure off of the median nerve.

If you wake up in pain and your hand is fisted, you may benefit from a specialized wrist brace to keep your hand open as this will not be accomplished by a standard canvas wrist brace. The other downside of a wrist brace with a metal insert is that it can add compression at the base of the hand, when in reality you should be trying to eliminate extra pressure at the base of the hand and wrist.

If arthritis is your issue, there are several splints that provide support to the base of your thumb to specifically relieve pain and improve stability. This helps improve your function when writing or using utensils and other tools.

How can Kinetic Edge help?

Most importantly, a therapist at Kinetic Edge will determine the actual cause ofTroy-OT your problem. This is crucial to determining the appropriate next steps and care. Based on the diagnosis, your therapist will prescribe exercises to work on either improving your mobility/range of motion or improving your stability. Not all exercises work for everyone so determining your specific needs is crucial to your success.

The therapists at Kinetic Edge also incorporate strengthening exercises progressively as necessary to improve your strength and get you back to the activities you love and need to do. We’ll also explore safer and more effective ways to do your activities to avoid re-injury and improve the lasting benefits of the skills achieved in therapy. For example, simply changing how you open containers, stir a hot pot of soup, or turn on a faucet can improve joint health in your hands over a prolonged time. Bad habits can be hard to break, but we’ll help you develop better ones for a lifetime of doing what you love without excruciating pain.

Want to find out if your hand pain is actually resulting from carpal tunnel? Contact us at 866-588-0230 to schedule a free 20-minute carpal tunnel screen. We have 10 slots available at each of our clinics this month, so call today to reserve your spot.

Wednesday March 6, 2019


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Tight Hip Flexors: How to Diagnose Yourself

by Dr. Troy Vander Molen, PT, DPT

Has modern technology impacted the way you spend your time each day either at home or work? No one questions the positive impacts the advancement of technology has on our world, but with these advancements also comes some consequences. For those of you who find yourselves sitting more behind a desk or while driving a vehicle or machine, you may also find yourself suffering the results of tight hip flexor muscles.

tight hips physical therapy amesWhat are your hip flexor muscles?

The primary hip flexor muscle is called the iliapsoas, a muscle that is made up of two parts. The iliacus portion originates from the pelvis, and the psoas originates from the lower lumbar spine. They both connect onto the front of the upper femur.

Another muscle that is part of the hip flexor group is the rectus femoris, which is one of the four quadriceps muscles, the only part of the quadriceps that crosses the hip joint.

Why are tight hip flexors a problem?

If you’ve read my articles over the past few years, you know that issues at one area tend to have consequences at neighboring areas. In this case, tightness of the hip flexor group can be a root problem that contributes to lower back pain because of the impact that tightness has on the position of the pelvis and spine. If these muscles are tight, the pelvis tends to lean forward and the lumbar spine may increase its inward curve when you move from sitting to a standing position. In other words, your back pain may really be a tight hip flexor issue.

Hip flexor physical therapist des moinesHow do I know if I have tight hip flexors?

It is important to note that though many people may feel like they have tight hip flexors, there may be other reasons for that sensation. It is important to determine if you have tight hip flexors before you start to work on hip flexor mobility. You can do this with a simple screen called the Thomas Test.

To test yourself, sit on the edge of a firm table or your bed and lie back. Pull one knee firmly to your chest, and let the other leg lower. The goal is to get the upper leg to fall parallel to the ground while bending that knee to 90 degrees. If you can accomplish this on both sides, you do not have tight hip flexors.

If your knee bends 90 degrees but the upper leg is unable to lay parallel to the ground, you likely have tightness in the iliapsoas muscle group. If your leg lays parallel to the ground but your knee cannot bend 90 degrees, you likely have tightness in the rectus femoris muscle. One other important note: if you can do both but your upper leg moves laterally, you may have tightness in another small but important muscle on the lateral hip, the TFL.

My Thomas Test is normal. So, why does my hip flexor feel tight?

Because the iliapsoas muscle originates from the lumbar spine and pelvis, they are involved in stabilizing the lower back. If you are lacking in core stability, these muscles may demonstrate some increased muscle tone. If that’s the case, it will do no good to stretch the hip flexors. Instead, you need a core stabilization program that will eventually help reduce hip flexor muscle tone.

What do I do about my tight hip flexors?

View More: are a variety of beneficial stretches that can work wonders for tight hip flexors. And this is important because it just might be the key to unlocking the solution to your lower back pain problem. The key is doing the correct exercise for your specific need.

If you would like to understand which exercises will be most effective for your specific issue, contact us at 866-588-0230 to schedule a free 20-minute hip flexor screen. We have 10 slots available at each of our clinics this month, so call today to reserve your spot.