We interviewed Dr. Stephen Eledge, who started training to become a certified Airrosti provider in 2011. Back then, he was one of only 49 in the country. Now, there are now 200 providers across five states.
What started out as a way to treat athletes with soft tissue injuries in a few short individualized visits has grown into a widespread practice at specialized Airrosti centers. The process begins with pinpointing the location and underlying cause of a soft tissue injury through a series of tests. Once the injury has been properly identified, certified providers are able to fine tune a treatment to specific connective tissues and place localized pressure on specific areas, usually with their thumbs. They then provide patients with mobilization exercises to work on in between visits and then retest each time to track progress. True to its name, the treatment typically resolves an injury issue in two to four visits.
AIRROSTI—AN ACRONYM FOR ‘APPLIED INTEGRATION FOR THE RAPID RECOVERY OF SOFT TISSUE INJURIES’—IS A FORM OF MANUAL THERAPY.
We treat people of every demographic, from athletes to weekend warriors to people that sit at desks all day. Even with the age range—we treat really young children, usually athletes in club sports, all the way to our elderly population. From all the data that we've had and when we've been independently evaluated, we don't see a big difference in one particular population getting better faster than another.
The way we structure our visits and even the way we negotiated our rates with insurance companies is based on spending an hour with every patient—and we really stand by that. If a patient is running more than ten minutes late we'll reschedule the visit. We want to be able to spend the time to do a proper evaluation, have enough time to manually treat that patient, retest them, and then still have time to reinforce any of the correction we've made in the manual therapy with the proper active care.
Not being able to do certain functional movements, like a squat, for example. If the reason you can't squat all the way down is because of pain, that's probably something that you're not going to be able to do a self remedy at home to fix. We advise people, if there is something that you cannot do because of pain, go seek medical help. If you happen to come to Airrosti—because we're all doctors of chiropractic and doctors of physical therapy— and we do an examination and see a red flag that indicates a full tear, something neurologic, or anything outside of our wheelhouse, we're going to immediately provide a referral to the appropriate place.
Initially, all of our providers were chiropractors. Now we have chiropractors but we started bringing in doctors of physical therapy as well. Once they get hired, they go through a five to six week training program in San Antonio where they are taught the treatment model and the methodology. They start seeing patients in the clinic in San Antonio and we make sure they're following the clinical reasoning.
I really like how invested we are in the clinical pathways. It wouldn't matter if you go to Austin, Texas or to Columbus, Ohio. You know you're going to get a similar outcome and you're going to get the same kinds of exams, treatments, and rehab no matter where you are. It’s clinical consistency that makes our outcomes very predictable.
The most common soft tissues injured are muscles, tendons, and ligaments. they often occur during sports and exercise activities, but sometimes simple everyday activities can be the trigger behind this kind of pain.
Sprains, strains, and contusions, as well as tendinitis and bursitis, are also common soft-tissue injuries.