Work Injury: Hand Tendon Laceration – How Occupational Therapy Can Get You Back to Work Faster!

Working with glass or knives, operating machines, or working with various cutting equipment poses risks for accidental hand injuries. One common injury is the laceration of tendons involved in the hand. The hand is composed of flexor tendons which assist with grasping, picking up, and gripping items, as well as extensor tendons which assist in opening the hand to let items go or release grip. Symptoms of a tendon laceration can vary, but most commonly include pain with hand movements, swelling, loss of function of hand or fingers, numbness, and damage to other surrounding structures.

Most often this injury results in immediate surgery followed by therapy to regain functional movement of the hand. Initial therapy treatment will focus on pain control and tendon healing such as ice, heat, modalities, scar mobilization, and soft tissue mobilization. This will be followed by range of motion exercises to regain mobility of fingers and hand such as tendon glides, joint mobilization, finger stretches, and wrist stretches. Upon minimizing pain and increasing range of motion, therapy will then focus on regaining strength and fine motor dexterity in order to regain functional use of the hand.  Simulated work tasks will be incorporated to ensure appropriate range of motion, strength, and dexterity is regained in order to engage in daily work tasks. Therapy is an important part of the recovery process and can lead to faster recovery and return back to work.

If you have questions or concerns, or if you have recently had a work injury, call and schedule a free screening with Choice Therapy today at 218.444.8280!

Marlee Westrum – Occupational Therapist

Therapist of the Week: Leah Gray (Occupational Therapy Assistant)

Leah was born and raised in the Bagley, MN area. After high school she attended Northland Community and Technical College in East Grand Forks, MN and graduated in 2004 with an A.A.S. degree as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. After college Leah and her husband moved to Rochester, MN for 5 years working in the transitional care unit and long term care patients. In Brainerd, MN Leah continued her experience with the transitional care unit and home health care for 3 years before relocating to the Bagley area. Leah enjoys spending time with her husband (Levi) and 2 kids (Dylan and William), fishing, hiking, biking, and traveling. She also enjoys spending time with other friends and family.

Torn Rotator Cuff: Do I Need Surgery? Will Physical Therapy help?


My doctor said I might have a torn rotator cuff. Will I need surgery, or will physical therapy help?


Before determining if you will need surgery or not, your doctor will likely schedule an MRI to take an image of your shoulder to determine if there is a rotator cuff tear. If there is you may or may not need surgery. The answer will depend on how significant the tear is, where the tear is located, your age and lifestyle, along with other factors. Regardless of those factors, your doctor may recommend trying a more conservative route first such as physical or occupational therapy. Your therapist will help to decrease pain, restore motion, improve strength, and hopefully return to your previous level of function. You, your therapist and doctor will then determine if surgery would still be recommended.

If you have been questioning whether or not Physical or Occupational therapy may be right for you, schedule a free 15-minute screening with one of our expert therapists today by calling 218.444.8280! Your Life. Your Health. Your Choice!

Sarah Kuhn: Physical Therapy Assistant


WE’RE HIRING: Physical Therapist (Crookston, MN)


Choice Therapy in Crookston, MN is currently seeking a full-time Physical Therapist interested in living, working, and playing in the Crookston, MN area. New graduates are encouraged to apply.

Choice Therapy is a multi-specialty, locally-owned private practice with a team of dedicated Physical Therapists (PT), Occupational Therapists (OT), and Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) that pride themselves in providing quality care to their patients.

Choice Therapy was recently named to the Inc. 5000 list, which ranks the nation’s fastest growing private companies over a three year period. We’d love for you to join our growing staff!


  • Working closely with patients to provide quality care by assessing and interpreting evaluations in determining treatment plans
  • Identifying and meeting patients’ goals and needs
  • Offering cost-effective treatments that help improve clients’ quality of life
  • Developing care plans using a variety of treatment techniques
  • Creating wellness-oriented programs tailored to patients’ specific needs
  • Providing quality, personalized and evidence-based care and proven interventions
  • Motivating patients during treatment in order to help them function optimally
  • Promoting clients’ healthy lifestyle by improving strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination
  • Consulting and practicing with other health professionals
  • Monitoring, communicating, and evaluating patient progress
  • Documenting patient care services


Master’s or Doctorate preferred


Choice Therapy offers a great benefits package including health insurance with vision plan, short-term disability, 401k with corporate match, vacation, PTO, holiday pay and attractive incentive programs for community involvement. Salary is extremely competitive and based on experience.

Job Type: Full-time


Q&A W/ Your Therapist (Jake Kremer): Do I need surgery if I have arthritis?

Question: My x-ray or MRI shows arthritis; do I need surgery?

Answer: In short, no. Arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis is defined as degenerative changes to the joint surface, or cartilage, leading to irritation of the underlying bone. This is a normal and typical part of aging.  In fact, a human being starts to develop arthritis in their spine in their early 20’s. So, we all may have this to some extent. Meanwhile, studies will show that there is low correlation between findings on diagnostic imaging and pain levels. In fact, up to 70% of people with findings on their x-ray or MRI do not have associated pain (Bhattacharyya et al., 2003; Boden et al., 1990). Therefore, a finding of arthritis just confirms that you are over the age of 20. If you have pain in an area and have diagnostic imaging performed (X-ray, MRI, CT scan) your doctor is using this information to the best of his or her ability to determine a probable cause of pain. However, just like anything else, x-rays and MRI’s have limitations, they are only one snapshot in time. Contributing factors that will not be shown on the image include nerve sensitivities, joint and muscle tension/tightness, abnormal posture, and abnormal movement patterns. That is where a thorough exam from your physical therapist can help (and keep you away from having to get surgery). A finding of arthritis alone does not indicate that this is the definite cause of your pain, and certainly does not necessarily mean that you have to live in pain or need surgery.

If you have questions or concerns, call and schedule a free screening with Choice Therapy today at 218.444.8280! Your life. Your health. Your Choice!

Dr. Jake Kremer, PT, DPT, FIT, CSCS

Therapist of the Week: Amber Nickerson (Speech-Language Pathologist)

Amber was born and raised in Bemidji, MN. She graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Master’s Degree in 2006. Amber has worked in skilled nursing facilities, acute care, and with outpatients and pediatrics. She has been married to her husband, Barry, since 2004 and has one daughter, Chloe. She enjoys spending time with her family, baking, and enjoying the outdoors. Amber started working full-time with Choice Therapy in September 2011.

Areas of Specialty:

  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Geriatrics
  • Cognitive Training

Better Speech and Hearing Month: Finding Help for Communication Disorders

Did you know that according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), 69% say parents of young children are not aware of the early warning signs of speech/language disorders?

So, what can you do?… By addressing the symptoms of communication disorders early, treatment is often less expensive and takes less time (ASHA). The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has provided some helpful tips in identifying speech/language disorders and what parents can do to help. If you have questions or concerns, schedule an appointment at Choice Therapy with one of our expert Speech-Language Pathologists at 218.444.8280!

Identify the Signs (Click the images to expand)



Meet our Speech-Language Pathologists:

Amber Nickerson

Erin Wark May

Kirsten Landmark

Choice Therapy – Speech Therapy Services:

  • Articulation and Phonological Disorders
  • Fluency disorders
  • Swallowing and feeding disorders
  • Oral motor skills
  • Language disorders
  • Cognitive deficits
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Auditory processing disorder
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
  • Social Skills
  • Apraxia

Choice Therapy – Adult Speech Services:

  • TBI
  • Stroke
  • Dyshagia
  • Cognition

Choice Therapy Approach:

  • Offer Speech Therapy for pediatrics and adults
  • Vast knowledge of communication disorders from birth to geriatrics
  • Flexible scheduling/working longer hours to accommodate family’s busy schedules
  • Family education built into every session to allow your loved one to continue working on skills at home and making progress towards goals
  • Extensive knowledge with academic based goals and ability to effectively target those in therapy to increase their academic skills

Therapist of the week: Jesse Anderson (Physical Therapist Assistant)

Jesse is originally from Vergas, MN. She went to the University of North Dakota and Northland Community & Technical College in East Grand Forks, MN where she graduated with an A.A.S. degree as a Physical Therapist Assistant.  Jesse moved to Bemidji in June of 2011 after she graduated college. She married Jordan in September of 2012 and they have a daughter named Bethany.  Jesse likes to spend time outdoors and with her family.

Areas of Specialty:

  • Craniosacral
  • Chronic pain
  • Orthopedics
  • Kinesiotaping
  • Sports Injuries
  • Balance/Fall Prevention
  • Lymphedema

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