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Meet The Team at Runners' Edge Alaska

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At Runners’ Edge, we work as a team. Each team player has roles, but we are here to help each other succeed and work together to provide the highest level of care possible to our clients. We strive to grow as individuals as well as a company. And that is what sets us apart from other clinics. This is us!

Zuzana Rogers

Clinical Director, Zuzana Rogers, PT, ScD, SCS, COMT

Board Certified Sports Physical Therapist
Certified in Orthopedic Manual Therapy
Life is not a straight line. I have taken a break in my career to spend time with my kids and family. We have discovered many great places while traveling, but more importantly, I have discovered my true passion and purpose as a Sports Physical Therapist. Having growing kids at home, I feel I understand the struggles of middle school sports (I’ve got one at home!) and I can relate to high school sports drama (I’ve got one heading that way!). I suddenly understand the struggles of 40-something parents who want to get back to being active after some time off (I AM one!). During my physical therapy career, I have helped many high level athletes achieve their Olympic goals, and have returned many other clients to physical activity after significant surgeries.

I am super excited to join Runners’ Edge Alaska. The way I will help you is to start with YOUR goals in mind. My goal is to brighten your day and to make it possible for you to return to what you love, whether it is marathon running or being able to enjoy beautiful walk in the mountains without pain.
I started my professional athletic career as a member of the Czechoslovak National Ski Team, pushing my training and performance to the boundaries of what my young body could take.Because of my personal experience, I take a holistic approach to physical therapy treatment. This philosophy applies to all my clients, regardless of age and experience, from a young runner – to an Olympic skier – to a recreational hiker looking to get his or her active life back after a knee replacement.Today, after decades of experience, training and study, it is remarkable how much information we have gained about athletics and sports-specific performance needs. My passion to share that information with you drives me tremendously.

Not only can I empathize, but I can 100% sympathize with you when it comes to increasing performance and mitigating the risk of injury. I take YOU into consideration. Not as a set of conditions or symptoms, but as a person with physical goals, mental needs and unique social situations.


  • Runners’ Edge Alaska, Clinical Director of Physical Therapy (2019- present)
  • Advanced Physical Therapy, Anchorage, Alaska (2003-2019)
  • Volunteer Physical Therapist, U.S. Cross-Country Ski Team (2013-present), covers Cross Country Ski World Cup races, World Championships and Winter Olympics. (Read more- HERE)


  • Third World Congress in Sports Physical Therapy, Vancouver BC, Abstract reviews (October 2019)
  • International Olympic Committee Sports Physio Diploma Program (October 2015- May 2017)
  • World Congress on Injury and Illness Prevention in Sports, Monaco (April 2014, 2017)
  • ScD in Physical Therapy, Texas Tech University. Focus: Teaching. Dissertation: Lower Kinetic Chain Injury Prevention in Adolescent Athletes (May 2013)
  • International Academy of Orthopedic Manual Therapy (IAOM-US) continuing education courses in the Spine and Extremities (2003-present)
  • Masters in Physical Therapy, University of Washington, Seattle (December 2003)
  • BS in Natural Sciences, University of Alaska, Anchorage (May 1999)


  • ‘Year-Round Physical Therapy Care for the Elite Cross Country Ski Athlete’ IOC Workshop, Winter Olympic Games, PyeongCheng, South Korea (February 16th, 2018)
  • ‘Lower Kinetic Chain Injury Prevention in Adolescent Athletes: A Continuing Education Course for Practicing Clinicians’, 2 day course
  • Advanced Physical Therapy, Anchorage, AK (Dec 7-8, 2012)
  • Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX (June 29-30, 2013)
  •  Injury prevention workshops, Fast and Female. Anchorage AK (2012 – present)
  • Multiple workshops regarding Injury Prevention, Return to Sports, Adolescent Athletes

Academic Consulting/Mentoring Positions

  • Clinical instructor, American Physical Therapy Association
  • University of Washington School of Medicine/ WWAMI Program: Chronic Pain clinical rotation mentor
  • University of Alaska, Physical Therapist Assistant Program
  • Service High School Biomedical Program
  • West High School Highly Gifted Program

Clubs And Organizations Worked With

U.S. Cross-Country Ski Team:
Events covered:

  • World Nordic Ski Championship, Seefeld, Austria (February 2019)
  • Winter Olympic Games, PyeongChang, South Korea (February 2018)
  • World Nordic Ski Championship, Falun Sveden (2015), Lahti Finland (2017)
  • Cross-Country Ski World Cup (2014-2019)
  • NAWTA Camp, Anchorage, AK (July 2013, 2014)
  • Altitude training camp, Park City, UT (October 2013-2017)

Alaska Dance Theatre (2006-present), Consulting Physical Therapist
Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Team (2010-present), Consulting Physical Therapist
Alyeska Ski and Snowboard Club, Alaska (2000-present), Consulting Physical Therapist, Director, Developmental Ski Program (2003-05), Junior Ski Coach (2000-2001)
Alaska Rock Gym, Consulting Physical Therapist
Fast and Female (2013-present)
Healthy Athletes, Alaska (2000-2003)

Main Areas Of Expertise

  • Sports injury prevention, Lower Kinetic Chain, Adolescent Athletes
  • Sports rehabilitation, return to play
  • Master athlete
  • Running medicine
  • Post race/exercise recovery
  • Manual therapy management of non-operative orthopedic conditions
  • Chronic pain
  • Trigger point dry needling
  • Blood Flow Restriction Training

Achievements And Awards

  • Alaska’s Top 40 Under 40 in business and community outreach (2013)
  • University of Alaska Sports Hall of Fame (2011)
  • Alaska’s  ‘NCAA Woman of the Year’ (1998)
  • ‘Athlete of the Year’, University of Alaska, Anchorage (1998)
  • Alpine Ski Scholarship, University of Alaska, Anchorage (1994-1999)
  • ‘NCAA All-American’ in Alpine Skiing (1995, 1997, 1998)
  • National Alpine Ski Champion of Czechoslovakia and Slovakia (1989-1993)
  • Member of the Czechoslovak and Slovak National Ski Team, World Cup and Europa Cup experience (1989-1992)

Professional Memberships And Certifications

  • Alaska and Utah licensed Physical Therapist
  • Certified Blood Flow Restriction Training provider through Owens Recovery Science
  • Certification of Orthopedic Manual Therapy (COMT) of the Spine (2005) and Extremities (2009) through International Academy of Orthopedic Medicine (IAOM-US), focus on diagnosis specific orthopedic management
  • Member of the American Physical Therapy Association, Sports Section of the APTA, and the Alaska Chapter of the APTA (October 2001-present)
  • Board Certified Sports Physical Therapist (Since 2016)
  • International Federation of Sports Physical Therapy (2016 – present)
  • American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy (AASPT)

Languages Spoken

  • English
  • Slovak
  • Czech
  • Russian


Skiing, hiking, kayaking, biking, running
natalie synder

Natalie Snyder, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS

Board Certified Orthopaedic Physical Therapist
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
I love puzzles. I feel that all the puzzle pieces I have collected have shaped me to be where I am today, as a physical therapist, coach, and an educator. Growing up, I have always participated in sports, outdoors activities, coaching, and tutoring. Back then, little did I know that my passion for anatomy, biomechanics (yay, physics!), coaching young divers, and my injury led me to become a physical therapist today.

I started studying Biomedical Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and had dreams of breaking diving school records, competing at NCAA Diving National Championships, and being RIT’s first female All-American diver. The summer prior to starting my college career, I have sustained a near career-ending injury from a diving accident, flipping and twisting from high platforms, I torn my long head of triceps brachii muscle and 75% of my labrum, and I was mis-diagnosed at that time. Did I stop diving at that time? Nope. I kept going to qualify for the Junior Olympics Regionals, Zones, and National Championships. I wanted to continue as I started college, but I had to step out of the RIT’s diving team; and my dreams were crushed, my identity was stolen, my passion was lost.

One year later, my surgeon was surprised by how much of the labrum was torn yet I was still climbing with pain (silly me climbing, hanging from the wall or in a cave with my unstable shoulder). I had Superior Labrum Anterior Posterior (SLAP) and Bankart (anterior-inferior labrum) tears, that’s the whole front 75% already! The surgeon was able to fix that for me with intensive surgical intervention yet there was nothing we could do with my triceps muscle. Then, a whole year of physical therapy rehabilitation followed, and I had to stay out of diving for another year.

My physical therapist inspired me and was dedicated to my recovery and prepared for me to return to high-impact sport with hands high above head, hands and shoulders hitting onto the water, arms flinging in the air, and performing handstands.  My physical therapist knew what had to be done. I returned to diving, got all of my records, became undefeated in my senior year, went to National Championships and became RIT’s first female All-American diver. I lived my dream, and I could not be more grateful for my therapist.

Fast forward to studying at University of Maryland Eastern Shore to obtain my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, I was lifting weights, climbing, running, always training and shockingly not eating enough.  I have over-trained to a point where my female health compromised as my hormone levels were out of sync, my menstrual cycle abrupted for 4 years, and I never did anything about it until at the end of my Orthopaedic Clinician Specialist Residency at University of Rochester Medical Center.  I learned the balance of training, playing, resting, eating properly, and practicing self-care. Soon enough, my female health bounced back, and I became stronger, healthier, and happier!

After my residency in Rochester, NY, I resided in Aspen, CO, where I have witnessed and treated numerous traumatic and post-operative injuries, most from skiing.  While being in Aspen, the mountains were calling me, I looked, and found my path cleared toward Alaska. 

Retired from diving, I continue to find my new passions and optimize my performance in numerous physical activities including running, hiking mountains, rock climbing, skiing, and exploring the great outdoors.  I learned that with proper training and understanding physiology, we are fully capable of optimizing our performance and our bodies can do amazing things!  I learned to train for physical feats ranging from rock climbing an overhanging wall to hiking for 26.5 miles in the Adirondack Mountains in one day to skiing down the 40 degrees drop at Highlands Bowl in Aspen, Colorado to running a half-marathon trail race in Alaska. The human body is powerfully malleable just like that.

Now, it’s YOUR turn to get inspired and return to YOUR favorite sport! As an orthopaedic specialist and female athlete physical therapist, I am passionate for human movement, performance, and education. The world is so big.  Alaska is also our big playground, and there’s always a reason to be active outside.  If your pain or injury is stopping you from doing your activity that you love, I will be dedicated to help you solve the problem, help you recover, and watch you make a comeback, running and playing again.  As a female athlete, I am not a small man!  Whether you are a female or a male athlete, I will help you train optimally with your physiology, what you’re made of, and how your body performs.

My goal is to coach and educate the community of Alaska how to optimize their recovery, be active again, and prevent further injuries. My goal is to empower female athletes that we are not small men, and we are fully capable of being the healthiest and strongest we can be, doing the activities we love, and living our dreams.

When you don’t see me treating patients, you will find me in the weight room, climbing walls, running on trails, hiking high mountain peaks, skiing alpine, cross-country and back-country, taking road trips to new places, and cooking delicious food!  I am excited to be a part of the amazing community in the beautiful Alaska.  


  • Runners’ Edge Alaska – Lead Female Physical Therapist – Anchorage, AK (June 2021 – Present)
  • Aspen Valley Hospital – Orthopaedic/In-Patient Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation – Aspen, CO (Jan – May 2021)
  • University of Rochester Medical Center – Sports & Spine Orthopaedic Rehabilitation – Rochester, NY (December 2019 – December 2020)
  • Leadbetter Rehabilitation Clinic – Orthopaedics & Sports Rehabilitation – Frederick, MD (May-June 2019)
  • Anne Arundel Medical Center – Neurological Outpatient Rehabilitation – Annapolis, MD (October-December 2018)
  • University of Maryland Rehabilitation of Orthopaedic Institute – Baltimore, MD (August 2018-May 2019)
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore Washington Medical Center – Glen Burnie, MD (January-February 2018)
  • Walter Reed National Military Medical Center – Physical Therapy & Prosthetics/Orthotics – Bethesda, MD (May-August 2014,2015)
  • Montgomery County Diving League – Head Dive Coach – Rockville, MD (May-July 2012-2015)


  • University of Rochester Medical Center – Orthopedic Clinician Specialist Residency – Rochester, NY (January – December 2020)
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy – University of Maryland Eastern Shore – Princess Anne, MD (September 2019)
  • BS in Biomedical Sciences with Minors in Exercise Sciences & Psychology – Rochester Institute of Technology – Rochester, NY (May 2016)

Past Teaching & Academic Involvements:

  • Teaching Assistant & Clinical Instructor at Nazareth College’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program – (January-December 2020)
  • Teaching Assistant for entry-level first year students in Doctor of Physical Therapy program – (August 2017-August 2018).
  • Teaching Assistant for Anatomy & Physiology, Tutor for Math & Physics, and Student Ambassador for University Admission Office – Rochester Institute of Technology (August 2013-May 2016).

Areas Of Expertise

  • Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) 
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
  • Shoulders and Upper Extremity Manual Therapy
  • Rock-Climbing
  • Running Assessments & Return to Running Rehabilitation
  • Female Athletes of all ages
  • Adolescent Athletes
  • Master Athletes
  • Sports injury prevention, Upper and Lower Kinetic Chain
  • Sports rehabilitation, return to play
  • Post-operative shoulder rehabilitation and recovery
  • Post-operative lower-extremity rehabilitation and recovery (including but not limited to ACL repair, meniscectomy/repair, lower extremity fractures, and total joint replacements)
  • Cervical and Lumbar Spine pain and movement disorders
  • Chronic Pain

Achievements And Awards

  • Recognized in American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) for story in overcoming challenges – March 2022
  • Recognized in National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) for a story in overcoming challenges – May 2022
  • Recognized in Democrat and Chronicle newspaper for overcoming challenges – Rochester, NY – March 2016
  • RIT Varsity Athletics ‘Comeback Athlete’ Award – May 2016
  • RIT’s NCAA Division III Varsity Swimming and Diving Team Captain & Records Holder – August 2014 – March 2016
  • All-American Honor, Placing 5th at NCAA Swimming and Diving Nationals Championships – March 2016
  • NTID Outstanding Graduate Award Recipient – May 2016
  • RIT Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award Recipient – December 2014
  • Placed Nationally in US Diving Junior Olympics Nationals Championships – Summer 2012

Professional Memberships And Certifications

  • Alaska, Colorado, and New York licensed Physical Therapist
  • Certified Orthopedic Clinician Specialist (OCS) – July 2021
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) – December 2017-Present
  • American Heart Association – Basic Life Support (CPR/AED) Certified – December 2020
  • American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) – Member 2016-2017, 2017-Present
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) – Member 2017-Present

Languages Spoken

  • English
  • American Sign Language


Rock-Climbing & Skiing, Running & Multi-Sports; Weightlifting & Yoga; Travel & Hiking; Painting & Puzzles; Life-Long Learner & Reader.


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Trevor Staples, PT, DPT, CSCS

Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

As a Physical Therapist, my goal is to support, educate, and empower you to manage your injury with confidence and independence. Coming back from an injury is physically and emotionally challenging with plenty of bumps in the road, and you need someone that understands your life, and your previous experience. You can expect to be listened to, and heard, when you work with me regardless of your goals. I hope to get to know YOU, and then get out of your way and provide you with the tools to come back stronger. I am excited to join Runners’ Edge Alaska, because we can give our full time and attention to you, and we collaborate often to maximize your potential.  

I am passionate about helping individuals to understand their injury, and find actionable ways to get them back to the top of their game. Whether an old injury is keeping you from training at your fullest, or you are experiencing something new you don’t fully understand. I believe we can make sense of your injury together, measure the important variables, and make goals to get you pack competing at your best. As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, I can help bridge the gap between rehabilitating your injury and beginning to achieve optimal performance. As someone who routinely participates in weightlifting, mountain running, nordic skiing, and hiking, I know the importance of keeping you training and moving toward your goals.


  • Runners’ Edge Alaska (2022-Present)
  • Rebound Sports and Orthopedic Physical Therapy (2021-2022)
  • Prior Clinical affiliations at the VA Hospital, and within the University of Utah Health system in both acute/inpatient rehabilitation, and outpatient orthopedic settings.
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy, University of Utah (2021)
  • Bachelor of Science: Kinesiology, University of Utah (2017)
Publications and Presentations
  • Improving Education and Doing Right by Patients: The Role of Patient-Reported Outcomes in Student Run Free Clinics and Recommendations for Implementation. Journal of Student-Run Clinics. (2022)
  • Development and Evaluation of a Novel Patient-Reported Outcome Implementation Process in a Student-Led Pro Bono Clinic: Acceptability and Adoption. Journal of Physical Therapy Education. (2021)
  • Emphasizing One Leg Facilitates Single-Leg Training Using Standard Cycling Equipment. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport (2019)
  • Formally presented original research at several academic conferences including the International/American Society of Biomechanics, APTA Combined Sections Meeting, and ISOQOL Conference
Professional Memberships and Certifications
  • Alaska Licensed Physical Therapist
  • American Physical Therapy Association: Sports and Orthopedic Sections (2018-Present)
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (2022-Present)
Areas of Expertise
  • Strength and Conditioning
  • Lower Extremity Injury (Bone stress injury, tendinopathy, muscle strains)
  • Post-operative lower extremity injury (Includes but not limited to, ACL repair, achilles tendon repair, meniscectomy/repair, FAI, total joints, lower extremity fractures)
  • Shoulder injury and return to performance
  • Return-to-sport, upper and lower extremity
  • Youth Athletes
  • Master Athletes
  • Strength Athletes
Helen Cortes pic

Helen Cortes Burns, PTA

Physical Therapist Assistant

Prior to my career in Physical Therapy, I worked as a botanist. My career took me from Barcelona to Edinburgh, then Austin and finally to Anchorage. Following a “not so graceful” fall off my mountain bike that resulted in a broken humerus and surgery, I needed Physical Therapy to regain the full range and use of my arm. It was during this period that I realized that Physical Therapy encapsulated all the things that I was passionate about: using science and exercise to help patients safely return to (or achieve) an active and healthy lifestyle. At that point, I decided to pursue a career in Physical Therapy.

I enjoy working with each patient on developing the most effective rehabilitation program, placing a strong emphasis on listening to your limitations and goals, your response to care thus far, and tailoring recommendations, exercises, and manual therapy to fit your needs best. I place great value on educating patients regarding diagnosis, symptom management and appropriate activity modification and progression. 

Through my years as a Physical Therapist Assistant, I have learned that no injury can be treated in isolation of the rest of the body and that healing is a multi-factorial process (stress, sleep, nutrition, etc.). This multifaceted approach is central to the way I deliver care. 

Outside of work, I enjoy spending as much time as possible outdoors. In addition to cross-country skiing and trail running, I love going on canoeing, skiing and backpacking trips with my husband, daughter and dog.

Employment ​

  • Ascension Physical Therapy, Anchorage, Alaska, Physical Therapist Assistant (2019- 2022)
  • Advanced Physical Therapy, Anchorage, Alaska, Physical Therapist Assistant (2016-2019)
  • Rebound Physical Therapy, Anchorage, Alaska, Physical Therapist Technician (2013-2014)
  • Alaska Natural Heritage Program (UAA), Anchorage, Alaska, Botanist (2005-2012)
  • University of Texas at Austin, Texas, Biology Teaching Assistant (2001-2005)


  • AAS (Hons) Physical Therapist Assistant (Cumulative GPA 4.00), San Juan College, Farmington, NM, 2016
  • MS (ABD) in Plant Systematics & Conservation Biology, University of Texas at Austin, TX, 2005
  • MS in Plant Biodiversity and Taxonomy, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, 2000
  • BS (Hons) Biological Sciences, University of Barcelona, Spain & University of Liverpool, England, UK, 1999

Main Areas Of Expertise

  • Conservative and post-operative upper and lower-extremity rehabilitation and recovery 
  • Sports rehabilitation
  • Lumbar Spine pain and movement disorders, including Scoliosis corrective exercises and strategies
  • Chronic Pain

Professional Memberships And Certifications

  • Functional Movement Screen 1, March 2018. 
  • Functional Movement Screen 2 (Corrective Strategies), July 2020.
  • Adult, Child and Baby First Aid/CPR/AED, February 2022.

Languages Spoken

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • French


  • Cross country skiing, trail running, canoeing, hiking

Hannah Lies, Certified Rolfer

Hi! I am so excited to be a part of the team at Runners’ Edge and help my fellow active community members get outside and feel good in their bodies! I graduated from the Dr. Ida Rolf Institute in Boulder, CO and although I loved running in the rocky mountains, I am happy to be back in AK for mountain races, biking, and skiing (we really do live in the best state)! I moved to Anchorage 5 years ago with the intention to only stay a couple years, but I felt at home with the community and haven’t left!

I was a D1 Cross Country and Track runner at Loyola University Chicago and after college I experienced a couple years of burnout and lost some of my love for running. I started seeing a Rolfer because I was unhappy with constant aches and pains when running and after working all day in an office. After the first session, I noticed how much better I could breathe, which was something I hadn’t experienced before from other forms of bodywork. I received a 10 Series (10 Rolfing sessions each with a specific focus), and noticed I felt more at home and comfortable in my body. My usual aches were not constantly coming back and I was enjoying running again! I was so inspired by the transformation in my own body, I decided to go to school to become a Rolfer so I could help my fellow athletes feel empowered on their journey to becoming their best active selves (and continue to do so as they age). 

When I’m not on the trails, you can find me at home taking naps with my two cats and planning the next camping or cabin trip!


Operations Manager, Gloria Johnson

Hi everyone! My name is Gloria. I am the Operations Manager here at Runners’ Edge. My role is to support our staff, our clients, and our athletic community. I make sure our clinic, programs, and schedules run smoothly; and most importantly, that our staff and client’s have everything they need to succeed. 

For as long as I can remember, exercise, sports, and exploring the outdoors has been a huge part of my life. If you too were born and raised in Alaska, we might have this in common! After a few years spent out of state for school, I came home to visit my family, fell back in love with the mountains, and never left!

If you’re wondering which of our services is right for you, have questions about your treatment, or want to connect or collaborate, feel free to reach out!  gloria@runnersedge.physio

Hope to see you at Runners’ Edge or out on the trails soon!

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Liz Cross, PT Aide & Admin Assistant

Hi! My name is Liz and I am the Physical Therapy Aide here at Runners’ Edge. You may hear me greeting you as you walk in, see me shadowing a therapist, or maybe participating in the  exercises with you!  I am very excited to learn more about what you do and how our talented team implements goals for you to achieve on and off trails. I am grateful to be a part of this unique active community and I look forward to becoming a physical therapist myself someday. If I’m not at the clinic, you may see me hiking up a snowy mountain with skis, running on trails, or rowing a boat through big whitewater. I would love to hear about your favorite ways to move and feel healthy!

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