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TCHC plans physical therapy clinic in Henning

A portion of the building that houses the Henning Chiropractic Clinic is being remodeled to become Tri-County Health Care, Henning Physical Therapy Clinic. It's expected to open around March 1.

Last week, a chiropractor in Henning recommended physical therapy to four patients.

But without a nearby facility, Dr. Mike Mortenson's clients needed to drive to Wadena, Perham, Fergus Falls or Alexandria to get those services.

"The last thing you want to do is drive from Henning to Wadena with a bad hip," he said. "The unfortunate part is many of them aren't going anywhere. They just aren't doing the therapy they need because they don't want to travel for it."

Last week, two patients went to Wadena while the other two opted to wait.

They won't have to wait much longer. Tri-County Health Care is remodeling a portion of Mortenson's building into a physical therapy clinic. The facility, on Inman Street just a couple blocks from TCHC's main Henning clinic, is tentatively scheduled to open March 1.

"I really believe it's going to absolutely take off," said Janelle Beddow-VanErp, the physical therapist who will work at the facility, officially dubbed TCHC, Henning Physical Therapy Clinic.

She'll be there Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., helping patients fix problems with movement, whether it be for work, play or both.

"It's about improving the quality of life, getting people back to what they were doing," Beddow-VanErp said.

Physical therapists work with shoulder, hip and knee problems - often following surgery - and patients with traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries and chronic pain, among scores of other ailments.

Patients range in age "from birth to 110," said Curt Brown, TCHC's rehab supervisor.

"We're very fortunate to have physical therapists with the skill set to do that," he said.

The 1,200-square-foot clinic will include two patient treatment rooms and a gym with strengthening and cardio equipment.

"The building was exactly what we were looking for," Brown said.

The facility will have ultrasound and electrical stimulation equipment. The most important physical therapy instrument? "My two hands," Beddow-VanErp said.

Mortenson said expanding physical therapy to the underserved eastern Otter Tail County region, where a growing elderly population is less likely to travel for services, will improve health outcomes.

Not getting needed therapy, "can affect (patients') range of motion for the rest of their life in that joint," he said. "We see them having more low back pain, more knee pain, more hip pain because they don't have the mobility they could have had with physical therapy."

TCHC's goal, Brown said, is for the facility to eventually be open five days a week. "We feel this will be an area of growth for us."

For Beddow-VanErp, a Battle Lake resident, working in Henning will cut 46 miles from her commute. But she's most excited about being able to serve her Otter Tail County neighbors. "It's going to be fantastic to work more closely with them."