So How Was the Conference?

Written by: Dr. Travis Stoner


For those that don’t know already, I went to the annual American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists this past weekend.  It is an annual gathering of some of the brightest stars in the physical therapy world with key note speakers that have published thousands of research articles and break out learning sessions from professors and lead clinicians from all around the world.  The conference was an incredibly enriching learning experience, and I just wanted to share some of the biggest things that I learned and experienced with all of you.

Jenn and I arrived Thursday afternoon in Orlando after some brutal Fredericksburg traffic delayed us almost one hour.  We arrived to the terminal just as the plane was boarding and we were lucky enough to get to our seats just in time.  Upon arriving in Orlando, we were escorted to the Reniassance Hotel at SeaWorld where we registered for the conference, and we could both already tell that we were going to learn a lot! There were poster presentations about so many different research topics and we spotted quite a few leaders in our field.

Thursday evening I was invited to be a part of an awards ceremony honoring two amazing women, Trish King and Carol Jo Tichenor.  These two incredibly influential women were honored as “Founding Members” of AAOMPT, much to their surprise!  AAOMPT originally had eight founding members: Richard Erhard, PT, DC; Joe Farrell, PT, DPT, MS; Kornelia Kulig, PH.D, PT; Michael D. Rogers, PT, OCS; Bjorn Svendsen, DHSc, PT; Stanley V. Paris PT, PhD; Ola Grimsby PT; and Michael Moore PT.  The presentation they gave was on the history of AAOMPT and manual therapy and how they were party to all of it and how we can help to shape it for the future of the profession.  As a special little small world moment, Trish King was one of my professors while attending physical therapy school Shenandoah University.

Other presenters included Josh Cleland discussing how we should debate each other with more respect, as well as bringing to light a little class action lawsuit re: kinesiotape!!

Then came the big moment!! In front of 800+ members, I was awarded the prestigious title of Fellow in the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists, something only an estimated 1% of all physical therapists in the country achieve! Three long years of research, coursework, computer courses, and one on one mentorship (all with tons of testing along the way) had finally come to conclusion with this certificate!  I want to thank Maitland Australian Physiotherapy Seminars for their amazing fellowship program that allowed me to start my company while also advancing myself clinically.  If you want more information, it can be found here (

Friday was filled with more keynote speakers with two huge revelations that I will be writing more about in separate blogs.  First Dr. Lori Michener discussed the importance, or lack thereof, of visual assessment of scapula (shoulder blade) motions when treating shoulder dysfunction. Her work, in a nutshell, provided evidence that asymmetries in the shoulder blade are common and when a therapist “sees” a dysfunction, it is overwhelmingly confirmation bias. In other words, the therapist sees what they want to see when he/she knows which shoulder is the painful one.

The last presenter I wanted to point out is Dr. Alison Gtimaldi.  She did an excellent presentation on lateral hip/thigh pain, commonly reported as a “tight IT band.”  Her research showed that stretching, specifically across the body, not only doesn’t help, it may even be making things worse.  Moving the lower leg across the body increases the stress on the bursa and tendons by 26.5x and a program that involves only strengthening has better outcomes than one with stretching!

Friday night was especially fun for Jenn and me.  We were treated to an amazing dinner by Maitland Australian Physiotherapy Seminars and we got to spend time with other amazing instructors.

Breakout sessions are chosen by the attendee, and I chose to learn more about mentoring my future fellows in training and how to increase learning and clinical reasoning in students.  We spent Saturday and half a day Sunday in the breakout sessions…then we went to SeaWorld!!

It was a great conference that taught both Jenn and I a lot and we are super excited to share that knowledge with our therapists who will use it to continue to provide you with superior outcomes to get your health moving forward!

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