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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

SL native's rare breed of therapy keeps runners, cyclists on road

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Shane McClinton has always had an interest in sports; he was a four-sport athlete while attending Storm Lake High School.

He also developed an interest in the health field while young and cemented that fascination when he had the opportunity to job-shadow with physical therapists Kit Munden and Todd Nicholson of Sports Rehab as part of a job exploration class his final years of high school.

Today he is a physical therapist at the unique Des Moines University's Running and Cycling Clinic. The clinic has been open since 2001 and includes the Human Performance Lab where McClinton has had the opportunity to use his expertise. He is still glad he had the opportunity to work with some of Storm Lake's best physical therapists when he was young, which led him to a career he loves.

There are many adults, he pointed out, that run and cycle in the Des Moines area, including McClinton himself.

Until the clinic was developed, there was nowhere this particular group of athletes could go to receive such accurate diagnoses if they were experiencing problems.

McClinton completed his college education at Gustavus Adolphus and earned his masters of science in physical therapy from Des Moines University. His internships led him to Colorado, Maine, Texas and Kansas, happy at the time, to have the opportunity to explore the world outside of Iowa. But he equally was glad to return to his home state.

For about 18 months he worked at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines; he has been with the University since 2002.

The lab work is fascinating. McClinton doesn't get as much time to work in there as he has in the past but enjoys the clinic work and dealing with people with hopes of making their lives better, pain-free.

There are only two such labs in clinic settings in the state of Iowa - the other being in Iowa City. There is another situated in Minnesota.

The most unique part of the lab is the 3-D analysis that can be completed, giving a view of individuals' movements, used to calculate force on joints on more difficult cases.

The analysis is "spendy" McClinton said, and rarely covered by insurance, but provides the kind of information that may be a blessing to runners and cyclers who may have thought they may have to give up their passion for the sports.

Using a regular camcorder, the patients are taped while running on a treadmill, determining their form, arch support and hip movement. Several different views are recorded and sometimes, it is determined that only a different pair of running shoes will take care of the pain occurring while running.

A physical exam, including an assessment and goals of each individual, is completed first. For cyclists, improper bike fit and form are the cause for many injuries, which may include pain in the neck, upper back, wrists and knees.

McClinton can help his patients in finding the proper bike fit to alleviate many of those problems.

Following the exams and assessments, the diagnoses can be made. Often part of the treatment includes prescribing a variety of strengthening exercises to improve the mechanics; all in a day's work for this specialized physical therapist.

As an avid runner and cycler himself, he is more than happy to get his patients back out on the course pain-free.

McClinton, a 1995 Storm Lake High School graduate, is married. He and his wife Michaelyn have a 10-month-old son, Evan. He is the son of Tom and Jane McClinton, Storm Lake.

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