Paul Fitzgerald, PT, DPT

Specialty: Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy

Expertise: Orthopedics and sports injuries

Education and Certifications: BSPT, Florida A&M University; DPT, University of St. Augustine

Distinctions: Graduated magna cum laude from Florida A&M University.

In his own words:

When an individual seeks care from a physical therapist we are presented with a unique opportunity to help guide them through the recovery process and return them to their highest level of function. In doing so we truly get to know the individual and what is important to them.  It is important to involve the individual in establishing realistic treatment goals, so they assist us with the creation of a customized plan of care empowering them to regain some control of their health and function.

Looking back, Skagit Island Orthopedics clinic director and physical therapist Paul Fitzgerald remembers his first exposure to orthopedics; it may have helped him choose his career.

“I began playing football when I was ten years old and at age eleven experienced some knee pain. My family physician referred me to see an orthopedic doctor who referred me to a physical therapist. This was my first exposure to orthopedics and physical therapy. I remember being intrigued with the knowledge and insight the physical therapist had and the impact this had on my recovery."

While Fitzgerald keeps up with any and all technological advances in physical therapy, he specializes in manual physical therapy techniques and therefore does not emphasize modalities in his approach to treatment. He has worked in the field of physical therapy for over 16 years, and finds that a combination of manual therapy techniques with therapeutic exercise, continuous analysis of the individual's condition and progress produces the best results.

“Technological advancements may assist in the delivery of treatment but they are no substitute for hands on treatment skills, academic knowledge, analytical insight and practical experience of the physical therapist.  Gadgets will come and go but the fundamentals of treatment delivery and the philosophical approach to care should always be the standards by which we are measured and held accountable to.”

Fitzgerald earned his first physical therapy degree in 1997 and returned to school in 2005 to complete his doctorate in orthopedic manual physical therapy. He started his career in physical therapy working with the United Cerebral Palsy organization as a therapy technician, while working toward earning his degree in physical therapy.

“One of the things that appeals to me about the field of physical therapy and medicine in general is that it is continuously evolving,” Fitzgerald said. “Whether its technology, academics, or philosophy the knowledge base is always expanding and progressing.”

A self confessed “exercise-addict,” Fitzgerald used to regularly compete in triathlons, but he has exchanged this for the marathon task of being a good father.

“I was a triathlete for a number of years and I still try to dabble in that when I have time in between taking care of kids,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ve been exercising since I was 9 years old. I truly enjoy all outdoor activities which made my move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Washington a relatively seamless transition.”