Meet Kate Campbell, a DPT at RVNAhealth in Ridgefield

The flip of a light switch may have determined Kate Campbell’s career trajectory.

At 16, Campbell, of Ridgefield, was severely injured while training as a gymnast and required physical therapy. She considered this vocation at the discouragement of many because of the competition and excessive paperwork.

Campbell was sitting with an ice pack on her knee watching physical therapists in matching polo shirts help patients on various exercise machines when an older man flipping a nearby light switch caught her eye. She realized that the man was re-learning the most basic task so he could return independently to life as he once knew it.

Something that many of us take for granted — turning a light on or off — was the focus of his effort that day, and Campbell was hooked. “Watching him flipping that switch up and down ... it was like my own switch went on,” she said. “I knew I wanted to spend my life helping people just like him.”

Today, Campbell is a physical therapist with RVNAhealth focusing on comprehensive sports injury therapy and prevention education and programming, where she applies a comprehensive approach to healing. As a triathlete and accomplished life-long athlete, Campbell hold a fervent belief in injury-prevention education, which she does regularly at the Golf Performance Center (GPC) in town.

More recently, she began offering running evaluations to assess individual strength, mechanics, flexibility and foot and shoe analysis for runners of all experience levels. “Avoiding injury isn’t about luck,” Campbell said, “it’s about understanding how injuries happen.”

When they do, Campbell takes a thorough approach designed to prevent patient hospitalization and restore activity as soon and as safely as possible with a full range of motion restoration. Functional therapy, as Campbell calls it, addresses all aspects of recovery including the secondary systems that are affected.

“When developing a treatment plan, I watch how a patient moves in (his or her) entirety to identify comprehensive areas of concern,” she said. “It’s important to consider the systemic connections when approaching healing. If someone has spinal surgery, physical therapy must consider how the spine interacts with other parts of the body to ensure it’s all supported. Ultimately, I want to get people back to doing what they love to do.”

More about Kate Campbell

Campbell holds a doctorate of physical therapy from the University of Delaware, where she also earned her undergraduate degree in exercise physiology with a double minor in strength and conditioning and biology.

She is board-certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) in sports physical therapy, and is currently one of only 18 physical therapists in the state of Connecticut with this distinction. She is also a Sportsmetrics™ trainer - a program designed to teach female athletes proper biomechanics to avoid ACL injuries - and is certified in the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy. Since 2008, Campbell has specialized in fabricating custom foot orthotics by evaluating and casting patient's feet through Stride™ Orthotics.

Campbell is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the Connecticut Physical Therapy Association. Within APTA, she is active in the orthopedic, sports and geriatric physical therapy sections. She also focuses on special interest groups such as: golf and golf performance; sports performance enhancement; female athlete; running; youth athlete; professional/collegiate therapist; balance and falls; bone health; health promotion; and wellness.

Campbell was a Division I cheerleader at Delaware during undergraduate and graduate school. She now coaches cheerleading locally. A resident of Ridgefield, she enjoys golfing with her family, running, training for and competing in triathlons and spending time with her three young daughters.

Because Campbell supports all facets of RVNAhealth’s portfolio, she works with patients of all ages — from the youngest golf students at GPC to senior hospice patients grappling with weaknesses that impact their quality of life.

Campbell’s ultimate goal is to open her own practice under the RVNAhealth umbrella and serve a different sect of clientele. “I want to bring my expertise to athletes who are hungry for high-quality care in a specialized and sophisticated environment married with all of the resources and support that RVNAhealth can give,” she said.

Campbell’s tenured physical therapy career did not come without its own set of challenges, however. College advisers initially discouraged her focus because of saturation in the profession, but she was not easily dissuaded. “I figured if other students were getting the same advice and changed paths then I would be one of the few graduating with the degree,” she said, “and by the time I was 23, I had earned my doctorate.”

Of Campbell’s many noteworthy patients, one Ridgefield resident is particularly memorable. The geriatric woman was never going to walk normally again due to a rare kidney disease causing chronic inflammation, but she loved walking for exercise. So when her grandson got engaged, she decided she wanted to walk down the aisle as a surprise to the family; Campbell even secretly measured the length of the aisle to make sure they practiced it.

“We got the best video of her standing up from her wheelchair and walking down the aisle with her rollator (a mobility aid on wheels) and her grandson,” Campbell recalled. “Those proud moments remind me why I do what I do.”

To schedule an appointment with RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness, call (203) 438-7862.