Arcadia Puts Best Foot Forward with Free Running Clinic for Philadelphia Nonprofit

By Purnell T. Cropper | June 24, 2014

On June 6, students from Arcadia’s Department of Physical Therapy collaborated with the Philadelphia chapter of Back on My Feet, a national nonprofit that uses running to empower and support those experiencing homelessness, to provide pro bono running injury analysis to several runners from the organization.

The collaboration began when Larry Devinney ’14DPT reached out to Dr. Brian Eckenrode, assistant professor of physical therapy at Arcadia, about holding an educational session for a group from Back on My Feet. That session’s success prompted the pair to do more with the organization. They brought in students, residents, and alumni, and the June 6 clinic took shape.

Paula Bermel ’16DPT, Danny Bresticker ’16DPT, Matt Garnjost ’16DPT, Rachael Giordano ’16DPT, Teresa Gero ’16DPT, Janet Hertz ’16DPT, Casey McKenna ’16DPT,  Daniel Safford ’16DPT, and Jeff Turner ’16DPT ran four members from Back on My Feet through different stations to analyze their running, looking to identify any areas of concern. In addition, they were assisted by Arcadia orthopedic residents Alex Haddad and Jamie Rosenberg ’14DPT and alumni Devinney and Kathleen Madera ’14DPT.Arcadia volunteers provided running injury analysis, putting runners through the same clinical assessments that Eckenrode provides in his running clinic at Arcadia: musculoskeletal examination, running gait analysis, and treatment recommendations to help recover from an injury or prevent it from occurring in the first place.

“[The clinic] provided a lot of education, in terms of answering the runners’ questions and showing them some potential areas to improve their running,” said Eckenrode. “We certainly would like to do more with them in the future, to have this as an ongoing thing.”

Back on My Feet program members meet at least three times a week for runs throughout the city, with some members partaking in 5K races, half-marathons, and marathons. The goal is to use running to instill a sense of responsibility and self-worth within members of the homeless population. In addition, the organization provides career and financial assistance to members who remain in attendance; so far, the Philadelphia chapter has helped more than 200 members gain employment and more than 150 gain housing.