Meet The Team - Runners Edge Physio
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Meet The Team

Owner, April Ericson, CRNA, MSNA

April Ericson, CRNA, MSNA
DNP Candidate – Expected Graduation 2022
I started Runners’ Edge Alaska because I saw a need in the Anchorage community for the services we provide – bridging the gap between rehabilitation and performance, sports-specific rehabilitation, and optimizing performance to decrease risk of injury. I’ve been an athlete all my life. I was an all-state softball and volleyball player in high school, and I decided to focus on volleyball in college. I played one year of NAIA in Tennessee, then transferred to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where I played collegiate volleyball and focused on Sports Medicine and Nursing.

I stayed involved in sports playing softball and sand volleyball for fun. When I graduated with my bachelors in 2002, I moved to Austin Texas and picked up the sport of triathlon. I moved to Fort Worth, TX in 2005 to complete my masters in Nurse Anesthesia (MSNA) and after graduation moved back to the Austin area and continued to be involved in triathlon. I’ve been competing in triathlon for a long time, however there have been many ups and downs with sport and injury since then.

I made the best decision of my life and moved to Alaska in 2011. I’ve continued in the sport of triathlon and have completed many sprint and Olympic distance triathlons on and off road, the Mount Marathon race, and also completed a ½ Ironman race in 2016. A back injury had me on the sidelines off and on for the last several years. This was so tough for me, because I’ve never had an injury that plagued me this long. Having been an athlete all my life it affected me significantly. I began to chat with others and there are so many people out there like me. People who aren’t 20 anymore and don’t recover like it. At 40, I needed help learning my new athletic body and how it’s changed over the years and what I need to do to keep it healthy and competing for many more years. At Runners’ Edge Alaska, we strive to connect with the community and return our clients to active lifestyle.

I’m on the road to physical recovery and lifelong fitness and you can be too. I’m excited to share our passion with the community.

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.

Employment ​

  • 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.

Education

  • 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)

Teaching ​

  • ‘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

Hobbies

Skiing, hiking, kayaking, biking, running

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 was mis-diagnosed at that time; maybe I should not have kept diving. 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 (oh yeah, silly me climbing and hanging with my unstable shoulder from the wall or ceiling). 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 step 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, performing handstands, and 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 time I was 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 3 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 am getting stronger, healthier, and happier!

Retired from diving, I continue to find my new passions and optimize my performance in numerous physical activities including running, hiking high peaks, 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 45 degrees drop at Highlands Bowl in Aspen, Colorado. 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, education, and play. The world is so big out there, Alaska is such a big playground; there’s always a reason to be outside and get moving. 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, I will help you train optimally with your physiology, what you’re made of, and how your body performs.

My goal is to educate the community of Alaska how to optimize their recovery, get playing 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 strongest we can be, doing the activities we love, and living our dreams.

After my residency in Rochester, NY, I resided in Aspen, CO, where I have witnessed and treated numerous traumatic and post-operative injuries, most were from skiing. I am excited to be a part of the amazing community in the beautiful Alaska. When you don’t see me treating my patients, you will find me climbing walls, running outside, hiking high mountain peaks, skiing up- and down-hill, driving to new places, and cooking delicious food!

Employment ​

  • 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)

Education

  • University of Rochester Medical Center – Orthopaedic 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).
    • Facilitating learning experiences and assisting the professors in a combination of in-person & virtual Anatomy and Musculoskeletal lecture/lab, and mentored DPT students in their clinical practice with patients for in-person care and reviewing clinical cases virtually.
  • Teaching Assistant for entry-level first year students in Doctor of Physical Therapy program – (August 2017-August 2018).
    • Assisted professors and first-year students of the DPT program in course materials to enhance their understanding of, but not limited to, anatomy, physiology, kinesiology/biomechanics, neuroscience, and acute care physical therapy.
    • Assisted via guiding students in the gross anatomy labs, held review sessions, provided students support outside of academic hours, and assisted the professors in preparation for the written/practical examinations.
  • Teaching Assistant for Anatomy & Physiology, Tutor for Math & Physics, and Student Ambassador for University Admission Office – Rochester Institute of Technology (August 2013-May 2016).

Main Areas Of Expertise

  • Female Athletes
  • 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)
  • Running medicine
  • Cervical and Lumbar Spine pain and movement disordersg
  • Chronic Pain

Achievements And Awards

  • Placed Nationally in US Diving Junior Olympics Nationals Championships – Summer 2012
  • RIT Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award Recipient – December 2014
  • 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

Professional Memberships And Certifications

  • Alaska, Colorado, and New York licensed Physical Therapist
  • Certified Orthopaedic Clinician Specialist (OCS) – Expected Spring 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

Hobbies

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

Client Success Coordinator, Gloria Johnson

Hi everyone! My name is Gloria Johnson. I am the Client Success Coordinator here at Runners’ Edge! My role is to make sure our clinic and schedules run smoothly, share resources with our athletic community to stay active and healthy, and most importantly, support our clients and make sure they are well taken care of. I wear a lot of hats but I also get to be a part of every step of our client’s journey from an inquiry about physical therapy, to cheering them on when they return to their sport or activity. I love helping others achieve their goals— and I love what I do!

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! My early years as a competitive soccer player ended prematurely due to one-too-many knee surgeries. After extensive physical therapy, instead of returning to the pitch, I found trails to run and bike on. I then moved to Idaho to attend Boise State University where I got a degree in Exercise Science. While going to school, I also worked at the university’s Outdoor Program, which expanded my wilderness knowledge and passion for exploring the outdoors. After 4 years away from Alaska, I came home to visit my family, fell back in love with the mountains, and never left!

After graduating, I became a NASM certified personal trainer, a Medical Exercise Specialist, completed a 200hr Yoga Teacher Training, an indoor cycle instructor, and a freelance graphic designer. Side gigs aside, my main work has been in medical settings, from independent physical therapy clinics to a large-scale orthopedic and surgery center. I’ve gained clinical, administrative, marketing and design experience; all while helping others excel in, or return to, the actives they love. I feel fortunate to have found work that combines all of my passions!

I know firsthand what it feels like to sit out on activities you enjoy due to pain. I found Runners’ Edge over a year ago for an overuse injury that prevented me from running, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and playing with my dog (all the best things!). My friends and family were out on the trails crushing it and I was beyond frustrated that I could not join. I had seen many PTs and orthopedic doctors for the issue, and not one could identify a solution. I tried rest, pain medication, yoga, and massage. Nothing helped long-term. I was confused about what to do and losing hope (I even looked into injections and surgery options!). After meeting with Zuzana for just a few sessions, I had less pain, was given the tools I needed to progress my strength, and gained the confidence back I had lost. I remember the first time I ran for a consecutive 30 minutes pain-free… I could have kissed the ground! I am so thankful to have met Zuzana, and for my experience as a client with Runners’ Edge. It truly is a one-of-a-kind Physical Therapy Clinic with PTs who understand athletic bodies.

I am looking forward to helping others who are in pain and looking for solutions so they can get back to their sport, exercise and the outdoors! My goal as your Client Success Coordinator is to make sure YOU have everything you need to succeed. If you’re wondering if PT is right for you, have questions about your treatment, or want to connect to the athletic community in Alaska, feel free to reach out! Whether it’s here at the clinic, on the phone, or over a cup of coffee— I am here to help! Let’s chat: gloria@runnersedge.physio

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

Gloria

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