Hartzell: New method shortens recovery time for ankle injuries

By Greg Gulas



According to Dick Hartzell, founder and owner of Jump Stetch Inc., there will be 27,000 sprained ankles across America today and approximately 9.5 million over the course of the year.

His conservative estimate of 65 million lost work hours to employers is staggering.

When you add another $25 billion earmarked for insurance carriers due to treatment, it’s easy to understand why both the injured and those providing medical coverage want to see a decrease in those numbers.

SDLqThe costs in both areas can be cut in half if the medical market would just take the time to learn my compression and traction techniques,” Hartzell said.

“I get a call regarding ankles nearly every single day and it’s the same thing over and over, so I either drive to meet the injured party or ask them to come my way. No matter the site, I start my compression and traction process and the time from injury to when they return to either practice or competition in their respective sport is significantly reduced.”

The “RICE Principle” — rest, ice, compression and elevation — is the practice most utilized when dealing with the treatment of athletic injuries.

That catchy phrase is attributed to Dr. Gabe Mirkin, a former assistant professor at the University of Maryland which he used in his best-selling “Sports Medicine Book.”

In an article written by Aaron Hutchins entitled “The End of the Ice Age,” which appeared in the May 20, 2014 issue of Maclean’s, Hutchins notes that “ice doesn’t help an injury, new research shows. It may even make it worse.”

Hutchins goes on to say that even Mirkin has changed his mind, adding “nobody believes in rest any more. You can get a hip replacement and you’re on the bike 12 hours after surgery,” noting “there is no data to show that ice does anything more than block pain.”

Hartzell’s process, which he says he has used with documented success over the past 22 years, all came about by accident.

“I was teaching a group at my Meridian Road location and there were 8-10 elderly individuals in the class. We were doing ankle work — abduction, adduction, eversion and inversion — and I was asked what happens when you pull on the foot,” he said. “I put a band on my foot and it felt better. After that, a young man came to me on crutches so I performed that process. He was able to run shortly thereafter and that was all I needed to see. That’s when I started working with this process and over the years, have done many studies to prove its worth.”

While many in the medical field remain skeptical, Dr. Tim McKnight, M.D., Board Certified Family Practice from Dennison, Ohio, is a firm believer in Hartzell’s technique and method.

“I like the fact that Dick demonstrates he can be flexible at any age. That’s a reassuring, motivational and most important message,” McKnight said. “Blood flow heals and he’s spot on about that. If you restrict movement, you reduce blood flow and that only slows the healing process.”

McKnight noted he has his own proof as to its effectiveness.

“Acute inflammation is a natural response to injury. It enhances and starts the healing process while chronic inflammation causes disability, inflammation and increased pain,” he said. “By moving joints and limbs we’re enhancing blood and lymphatic drainage, which enhances healing and reduces pain.

“I’ve never had anyone enter my office on crutches, with an ankle sprain and then leave my office using those same crutches. They’ve left pain-free or without a limp.”

Mike Ruby, wellness director and rehab specialist for Heritage Valley Health Systems and six other outpatient facilities in Beaver, Pa., uses Hartzell’s techniques on a regular basis.

Ruby started with Hartzell’s Jump Stretch system in 2000 at the New Castle Community YMCA and became re-certified in order to teach his technique.

“Dick’s system is so good because it works with different areas of the healing process. The system does traction, elevation, compression of muscles and muscle distraction, both vertical and horizontal and that’s the key with ankle sprains,” Ruby said. “Dick works the joints a lot, opens them up and creates more blood flow to that area which in turn gets more oxygen and heals quicker. It takes away discomfort.

“Dick is on to something, and not only is he on to something, but he has mastered it. I’ve worked with him for about 120 hours — 60 hours in the medical arena and 60 hours in the athletic performance and rehabilitation area — and 100 percent have left with less pain than when they arrived. He has mastered this process and what he can do in an hour, usually takes between 2 to 6 weeks with a rehab process.”

Hartzell’s office is located at the Old School Market Place — the former South Range High School — 11836 South Avenue, North Lima and he can be reached at 330-559-4395.

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