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Featured Orthopedic Resident: Matthew Robbins PT, DPT

by Brett Kestenbaum, PT, DPT

What made you decide to pursue residency training?

I wanted to quickly learn the best practices, orthopedic guidelines, and in general how to get my patients better as quickly as possible. I felt PT school did a good job of exposing me to many areas of physical therapy and getting me to pass the boards exam, but I still felt lost and fumbling a bit when I came face to face with patients, particularly with patients that didn’t easily meet the demographics of ones we saw during school practicals.

What residency program are you attending (or did you attend) and why?

PT Solutions Orthopedic Residency Great job, no reduction in salary, no cost for the program!

Can you give an example of a “typical” week in the residency program?

Residency training was held on Tuesday mornings beginning at 7am and ending at 10am. Some sessions were all classroom-based and some were classroom for the first 1-2 hours and the remainder was lab practice and skills training.

Once departing the training center, we would report to the clinics where we did our mentoring and work alongside our mentors, ask questions, practice more manual skills, and review journal articles.

What is your typical case load in the program?

My patient caseload didn’t change much when I was in the residency program. I was still working my normal hours on days I wasn’t attending residency. Extra caseload was based on journal readings, case presentations, case study article writing, and studying best practices.

How much does the program cost? (i.e. reduced salary or full salary but paying tuition)

One of the big perks about the PT Solutions residency is no salary reduction and no extra cost! They do ask for a work commitment following the conclusion of the residency program with a buyout if you decide to leave early.

What opportunities have you or will you seek out after finishing the residency program?

I immediately began focusing on obtaining my dry needling certification and orthopedic clinical specialist certification. I have obtained both of these since graduating from the residency program

What have you gained from attending the program (knowledge, skills, etc…) that you may not have gained otherwise?

The ability to communicate well with patients and explain the rationale behind treatments, particularly when you want to treat someone’s back, but it’s their knee that is hurting.

Manipulation for the cervical and lumbar spine were also well developed over the course. Understanding the foundation of the lumbar spine was critical to the program and has made me much more successful in my practice.

What advice do you have for students that wish to pursue a residency after graduation?

Go and spend a day at the residency session. Shadow one of the residents in the clinic (either one currently in the program or one that has recently graduated from the program). Discuss openly what you are looking for from a program and expect the same clarity back. Be prepared to work and study.

Dr. Matthew Robbins is a physical therapist and clinic director for PT Solutions in Dalton, GA. Dr. Robbins graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics with a Minor in Economics before earning his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. During his time at Chattanooga, he also earned designations as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Dr. Robbins is a recent graduate of the APTA accredited PT Solutions Orthopedic Residency program and Primary Dry Needling Certification course.

Dr. Robbins has a personal interest in the endurance sports world and treating the many impairments and dysfunctions that often accompany endurance athletes. Not only does he effectively treat athletes, but he is also an active competitor himself. Beginning his racing career in 2005, he has competed in over 150 races including Ironman Louisville, St. Jude Memphis Marathon, Collegiate Track National Championships, and the ITU Cross Tri World Championships. He currently manages and races for the Village Volkswagen Elite cycling team based out of Chattanooga, TN.


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