Proactive wellness for elite athletes, and for you

A conversation with Renuka Pinto, Physical Therapist

Renuka Pinto is no ordinary physical therapist: she’s been critical to the success of Olympic athletes, tennis players competing in tournaments like Wimbledon, and other elite athletes performing at their best. She’s also the founder of SMART Wellness NY, a sports medicine physical therapy clinic that specializes in biomechanics and whole body wellness. Renuka brings a proactive, modern physical therapy approach to her patients that she has refined over her twenty four years of practicing, allowing her to help her patients take care of their bodies and perform at their best.

Comprehensive physical therapy starts with your feet

Although everybody is different, there are certain structural foundations that must be in place: beginning with the feet. “I never treat a person without looking at their feet, as it’s the grounding point of the system,” she says, recognizing the pivotal role that foot health plays in whole body wellness. “There is a plethora of research and scientific evidence to show that foot pronation is necessary for core activation. But it’s the synergy of the muscles and timing that makes or breaks the system.” In other words, there’s a “right” way to move that ensures the body is in alignment, where all of its components are properly working together. It’s this synergistic mentality that brings the feet to center stage with Renuka’s approach to physical therapy for lower back pain, hip pain, and knee pain.

Everybody is different, requiring individual attention and care

While our anatomical structures may be the same, we each have our own unique ways of moving and interpreting pain. Renuka notes that we move based on the environment, lifestyle, sports, demands of our working environments, commutes, hobbies, and more. She believes that this can dictate or cause a predisposition to muscle imbalances and joint dysfunction. Over time, these misalignments tend to compound, chipping away at our overall health and leading to much larger health complications. Trying to make small adjustments to correct these problems often causes other issues to emerge, leading to a downward spiral. To take control of your wellness, Renuka fully embraces that there are proactive means by which we can care for our bodies and perform like the elite athletes Renuka knows so well.

The extent to which our feet pronate and our arches are shaped play a large role in how the rest of our bodies respond to our activity. Contrary to popular belief, we are all born with flat feet. By the age of six, our arches typically form, though about one in five children never develop an arch. Renuka explains that though all of our arches are different, the universal characteristic is that arch support is important to everyone, as it’s the manner in which the rest of the body engages with gravity. Arches absorb the shock of routine activities like walking, running, and standing – if you don’t have natural arches, insoles are a helpful solution to create this needed foot arch support. Beyond lower body pain, Renuka uses arch support in alleviating lower back pain, as the foot position is directly related to muscle activation in the deep core system. It’s all connected.

A custom tailored approach to support unique patients

Fulton insoles have been especially helpful in Renuka’s customized approach to treating patients. She notes that Fulton’s ability to custom mold is critical to accommodating all the differences that her patients present to her in her office, from unique arch shapes to pronation styles and gait patterns. Because of this, she is able to recommend Fulton to a wide variety of patients, since she treats everyone from professional athletes to seniors. “I switched to Fulton because it is a natural product, and I am very conscious of environmental impact and sustainability. Plus, the added advantage of mild body heat and conformity cannot happen with plastic and gel insoles.” Over her twenty plus years as a clinician who has worked with a multitude of products all over the world, she loves the success she has seen with Fulton so far!