Physical Therapist

Parent Q&A

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  • Physical Therapist who takes insurance

    (4 replies)

    Hi - I'm looking for a great physical therapist who accepts insurance in Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito ideally but Oakland works too.  Thanks!

    I’ve been going to Sol PT in Berkeley and have Cigna PPO.

    Just want to say, I needed PT recently and from what I experienced there is a real shortage in our area. I ended up at Sutter/Summit/Alta Bates at 5700 Telegraph, and there was a very long wait for an appointment (like, months), and although the therapists there seem skilled and caring, the appointments are only 30 mins and feel rushed. For my insurance this seemed to be the only game in town. I recommend making an appointment there now, and cancel it if you find something better in the meantime. I hope you get some better recommendations!

    John King at SOL in Berkeley is FABULOUS!!  And I am very particuar. He was one of only three physical therapists in all of the greater Bay Area that my surgeon (was also then the 49ers surgeon) referred to.  

    Nolan at SOL PT on Piedmont Ave in Oakland. Highly recommend!

  • Our 19-year old all-around athlete and surfer has been diagnosed with a herniated disc in the lumbar region.  Surgery doesn't seem to be an option.  We're looking for a sports medicine physical therapy practice where he could devote the summer to working on this injury and getting back his ability to engage in sports.  

    Thanks for your recommendations.  

    Hello!! I'm so sorry to hear about your child's herniated disc. I also had the same condition after having 4 babies in 3 years. I am a healthcare industry executive and lived in pain for years until I couldn't take it anymore. There is a world renown regenerative medicine sports medicine physician in Napa named Dr. Marko Bodor who has pioneered Platelet Rich Plasma injections of the disc. As the disc is an avascular structure (no direct blood supply), it is very difficult or impossible for it to heal on its own. Dr. Bodor's team has led cutting-edge research for a single injection of your own platelets (from your own blood) to the disc. It heals and regenerates the tissue.

    I had this done 1.5 years ago on my L5-S1 and it changed my life. My disc has not only healed, I am back to running, yoga, plyometrics, and playing on the floor with my kids. Dr. Bodor treats many world renown athletes, olympians, and laypeople with sports injuries. He changed my life. UCSF Spine Center was recommending invasive spinal surgery (a fusion) which is extreme and would be an absolute last resort, especially for a young healthy person. I am SO GLAD I found Dr. Bodor first.

    I am happy to talk to you about my experience and to connect you with him and his team. It is a simple day trip to Napa and an injection done under ultrasound or x-ray guidance. I am extremely particular about my physicians and healthcare providers (I've worked at large hospitals such as Stanford Healthcare and Cedars-Sinai) and Dr. Bodor is second to none. 

    Good luck - there is hope!

  • Hey all, looking for some physical therapy clinic recommendations. I've been dealing with some knee pain for over 6 months now and have been unhappy with my experience/results with the two different physical therapist/clinics I've tried so far

    Some back story; I'm fairly active and want to get back to running, hiking, and strength training again. Main complaints I have with the other places I've tried are; not enough time with the actual physical therapist, seeing different PTs and assistants each time, being handed a cookie cutter print out of stick figures for an exercise plan of ones I could've probably found on YouTube, and not working with a PT that I feel confident who can actually get me back to running, hiking, and lifting again. 

    Fairly desperate/frustrated at this point and would greatly appreciate anyone's insights and recommendations for clinics/PTs that they were happy with. Especially if they're fairly active like myself and have been able to get back to that level again

    100% recommend Pro+Kinetix Physical Therapy & Performance especially if you haven’t had a great experience elsewhere. Like you, I had tried numerous physical therapy clinics and was so fed up with being passed from physical therapist to physical therapist, assistant after assistant, and honestly just coming in and doing exercises that I had already been doing at home. No surprise I wasn’t making any progress. Anyways, my running partner referred me to Pro+Kinetix because she had an awesome experience and outcome too so I went and gave the first session a try and have been hooked ever since.

    Every session was 1 on 1 for an hour with a Doctor of Physical Therapy, no assistants, only had to go in once a week compared to 3 times a week at the other clinics, and had 24/7 access to my PT for questions between sessions. After 10 sessions, I wasn’t just back to running pain free, but was actually running faster and had absolute peace of mind knowing that it wasn’t going to come back. 10 months later and I’m still running pain free and aiming for a half marathon in the next 2-3 months which they’re doing my programming for both running and my strength training. It’s truly been life changing finding and working with them

    Here’s their website if you want to learn more. Definitely give them a shot

    Andrew Montoleone at Select Physical Therapy and Jackie at GSports both helped me with leg/back injuries.  I only switched because my insurance changed.

    I highly recommend John King at Sport and Orthopedic Services.  Years ago I had an ACL replacement after a ski accident, and the surgeon was the then 49r surgeon and said he only referred to 3 physical therapists in the whole Bay Area - one being John.  I only ever saw John, never any assistants.  He is focused on sport and functional recovery, and was great to work with.

    Ned Lockwood at Pacific Orthopedic and Sports in Emeryville is absolutely stellar -- a superb listener and diagnostician, very smart, very committed. Over the past six years he has helped me with three separate problems. Nothing about his practice is cookie-cutter or slipshod. 

    Have you considered that may have nerve pain and not muscular pain? One problem I had with many PTs that I have seen is that they focus on muscular exercises and stretching which exacerbated my pain.In my case, pain stems from nerve tension, nerve sheath strain, pinched nerve. Stretching does not work for this kind of pain. There are some gentle exercises that are completely different than stretching. I'm still struggling with the pain but once I stopped stretching, I improved, very frustrating. Good Luck!

    I’ve been very happy with SOL Berkeley.

    I was badly injured in a car crash this year and have had a ton of PT - from in the hospital to inpatient rehab to home health PT and now to SOL for outpatient PT. At SOL I mostly schedule with the same therapist, but I’ve also seen a couple of others there from time to time. They’re all great.

    I was very active before, and I’m definitely not back to 100%. I’ve been at it for 7 months now and have made progress every week. The PTs at SOL are always tweaking my exercises to better focus on the problem areas which I think really accelerates the progress. I definitely recommend.

    I see Jenni Kirk (@Renew in SF) to help with my DR, pelvic floor and IT/ hamstring issues. I've never seen anyone but her, and their receptionists are fantastic and make scheduling a breeze (and are super knowledgeable about insurance processes). Jenni has helped me differentiate between nerve vs muscle pain and her exercises have really started to help. I'm starting to see progress- my postpartum injuries were so bad I wasn't sure I would ever run again. Finally, she runs ultra's and is a mom herself - so she totally gets wanting to prioritize being active!  

    I've had excellent care at the Center for Sports Medicine (St. Francis Hospital) in Walnut Creek, and I think it would check off most of the items on your list. Most of your time is with the actual PT, the same PT each visit. The entire practice emphasizes helping the patient resume activities. I've been seen there for my knees, and I especially like the dance medicine/Pilates part of the clinic (with therapists who are both PT's and Pilates teachers). My husband has been seen in the other (non-Pilates) part for an ankle injury and, most recently, after having tweaked his back. He reports that because of social distancing practices, they keep to a tighter schedule than pre-covid, so he wasn't able to arrive early to warm up or stay late to exercise with their equipment like I used to do. Personally, I think it's worth the drive from Berkeley and I'd take a chance on any of the PT's depending on availability.

  • Hello,

    Does anyone have recommendations for a Cantonese or Mandarin speaking physical therapist in the East Bay area. Ideally someone experienced working with patients in their 60s. 


    Try Vibrant Care in Oakland.  I was there a few years ago and they did.  It might be spelled VibrantCare.

  • Physical Therapist for Chronic Back Pain

    (3 replies)

    I have had chronic back pain for the past 5 years (herniated disc, L4 and L5) and I'm currently having a flare-up. I've tried countless modalities over the years (chiro, acupuncture, rolfing, etc), and I've especially gotten some benefit from physical therapy. Does anyone have a great PT to recommend in the East Bay? Thank you!

    I'm so sorry you are experiencing this, I'm in the same position and also looking for a new PT at some point just not now. 

    Recently I've gone back to the basics of wearing a brace more regularly (especially with flare-ups) and treating the flare up with a combination of a large ice pack and alternating with infrared heating pad with good relief even if short-lived.

    Wishing you all the best

     Allan Horwitz, P.T. at Berkeley Physical Therapy, helped my lower back pain better than any other P.T. I worked with.

    My wife and I are in our late 70's and have some pain issues due to various problems as a result of previous physical accidents and joint replacements. A good friend of ours who has pain due to a deformed hip recommended her PT to us. We both have been seeing her for about a year and have had excellent results in reducing and/or eliminating our discomfort. My wife recent had a flare-up in her knee as her replacement was causing her pain. She took narcotics for a few days but it still bothered her so she called Alex to make an appointment. After she returned home my wife said that her pain was greatly reduced and was gone by the evening. It has not come back since. Her name is Alex Threadgill-Inouye and she can be reached at 510-610-2256. Her office space is in Berkeley near Whole Foods. She is very friendly and competent and we appreciate that she takes such good care of us.

  • Hi,

    Can someone recommend a good PT for tennis elbow?  I've had this problem for about 4 months and just finished 8 sessions with a PT.  I wasn't too happy with the care I got and would like to find another PT who is more engaging and will produce better results.  My preferred location is Berkeley/Oakland, but would be willing to travel further if necessary.  Thanks in advance!

    I've had excellent results for long-standing problems with my knees and a troublesome elbow glitch seeing David Weinstock at Neuro Kinetic Therapy in Corte Madera. Take a look at his website to better understand how he works. Can't recommend him highly enough! 

    I went to Pro+Kinetix Physical Therapy & Performance in Oakland and they were absolutely AMAZING! I'm a runner and have seen countless physical therapists for a variety of different injuries and no one has been able to help me like these guys did.

    Like you, I wasn't happy about the care that I got at these other clinics either. Seemed like I was spending more time with the assistants than I was the actual physical therapist and just coming in doing exercises I was already doing at home. 

    This was a totally different story when I was going to Pro+Kinetix. The entire session was an hour long with my physical therapist and each time I came in we were doing different exercises and/or progressing off the ones I had done before. Can't recommend these guys enough! 

    Their website is below if you want to check them out:

  • Physical Therapy for Hip Replacement

    (2 replies)

    I had a major hip surgery a year ago and have not fully recovered my mobility while working with Kaiser Oakland PT. I'm looking for a Physical Therapist who you think is the best, and can help patients move through feeling stuck on the road to recovery. I'm hoping to find someone who can start and continue work with COVID precautions. Thanks for any ideas.

    I had hip replacement surgery a year ago and highly recommend Sol Pt in Oakland.  

    Looks up Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT), David Weinstock, based in Marin. He is extraordinary! Not a physical therapist, but you'll get the idea of what he does via his website.

    I've seen him for knee problems but took my childhood friend to see him about double hip replacements last year. David doesn't want to keep seeing you - he figures out what's firing, what's not and what to do about it. Then you'll have simple exercises to do once or twice a day. 

    Good luck! Tell him Mady sent you :)

  • Hi, I am looking for recommendations for a hand physical therapist for my 25 year old son who accidentally severed 4 tendons and 3 nerves, three years ago. He has not regained use of his hand and is no longer able to play stringed instruments, or able to repair musical instruments (his livelihood). The accident and loss of use of his hand has turned his life upside down and  has resulted in depression and anxiety.. Looking for someone who has excellent hand physical therapy skills and is compassionate. He lives in Berkeley, near Star grocery store, but can travel.

    Thank you


    Webster Orthopedics in Oakland has two occupational therapists who specialize in hands.   I have seen them for a broken hand and a broken wrist.  (I am not super enthusiastic about the rest of their PT practice.)

    I highly recommend going to the best hand surgeon and specialist in the Bay Area.  He will not recommend surgery unless it's necessary.  Dr. Robert Markison, 415-929-5900, 2000 Van Ness Ave #502, SF CA 94109.  He can also provide recs for PT and other forms of therapy.

    Good luck.

    I saw Christine, a hand therapist at Alta Bates' hand clinic who I thought was great: Check them out-

    Very sorry to hear about your sons accident! I recommend Shelby Edgar at Oakland Hand Therapy. She’s an Occupational Therapist specializing in hand therapy. 

  • Looking for Awesome Physical Therapist

    (4 replies)

    I injured my ankle a couple months ago which was first diagnosed as a sprain and a month later as a couple fractures. Looking for an awesome PT to help get back to full mobility. Looking for recommendations in the east bay as well as SF. Please and thanks in advance. 

    Edie Murphy (Hands On Physical Therapy, is great. I made more progress with my issues with her than with any other PT I've seen. She doesn't bill insurers, so you will have pay here and handle any insurance paperwork yourself for reimbursement.

    I recommend Adam at SOL on Piedmont Ave, right off Pleasant Valley Road in Oakland. He's treated my shoulder and my ankle, both with good results. 

    I highly recommend Shaun at Alta Bates Summit Health Pavilion, 5700 Telegraph Ave. Oakland, CA 94609 Phone: (510) 204-1788. Another therapist there said that she's the leg and foot guru and she did some amazing things to help me recover from a sprained ankle. I can't remember her last name at the moment, but they'll know who if you call.

    I can't recommend Bob Baker (and Tiffany) at Emeryville PT highly enough!! He's an amazing evaluator and then comes up with an efficient plan of work to do on your own (you have to be committed to keeping it up). You'll learn the various things you need to do during your sessions, but day to day work is on your own.

    I still check in from time to time to make sure I'm doing my exercises correctly. Bob's slots get filled up quickly but he's worth the wait. Or ... just make an appointment to see one of the other therapists there for an evaluation (they are all good) and Bob oversees everything. It's his practice and he is very careful to know what's going on with all the clients. Good luck!

  • I'm hoping someone can refer me to the right person to help me. At 42 years old, I feel I'm in the best physical shape of my life thanks to crossfit. But I have fairly significant scoliosis.  It doesn't limit me in my workouts, but is affecting my SLEEP of all things!  have back pain first thing when I wake up in the morning but it is now starting to limit how much sleep I get and is making it more and more difficult to get out of bed in the morning! I've been waking up at 5am lately and can't get back to sleep due to the pain. It is one-sided in the center of my back.  Doesn't seem to be due to my workouts.  Doesn't matter which bed in our house I sleep on.  I feel like there must be someone out there who can help me- a physical therapist? Body worker? Chiropractor? I'm not sure who to go see, and don't have a ton of cash. I'm willing to pay for good treatment, but want to be confident that I'm going to someone who knows how to help me. I want someone to analyze why I'm having pain, recommend how I can sleep more comfortably, and teach me postural adjustments or exercises I can add to my workouts to help relieve my pain.  Some manual therapy would be great too.  Have anyone you can recommend, BPN community? THANK YOU!

    I just finished up a course of treatment with Jack at SOL PT on Piedmont Ave. Amazing! He has excellent hands on technique and got to the root of my issues while providing a home exercise program I could carry over. I typically saw him for 30 minutes and would then finish up with the aide (who were also great, mostly all individuals getting ready to go to PT school themselves). It was covered under my insurance with a $20 co-pay. Worth reaching out to see if you would be in network. 

    I complimented my work at SOL with going for chiropractor services at Awaken. It was interesting because both practitioners believed that while I was feeling back pain, the root seemed to be stemming from my neck and upper should area. Also worth trying a few different types of pillows too! 

    All the best

    ICor, Integrative Chiropractic and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation on Piedmont ave in Oakland is a practice I can't reccommend highly enough. See Dr. Aaron Roselle or Dr. Eileen Karpfinger. Sapho Flor is a gifted massage therapist who is at the Berkeley Acupuncture Center on Fridays. And I have seen Pilates work wonders for scoliosis, mine included. I don't have anyone to reccommend, but surely someone else could. Good luck!

    I've been very very impressed with Bob Baker who owns Emeryville Physical Therapy on Powell Street.

    Bob is exceptionally intelligent, and on top of being well trained and having a lot of years in the business of PT, he's got an intuitive sense when trying to help figure out how to approach a problem. I've been to a lot of PT sessions over the past years for my bad knees and back (not to mention neck!) - Bob (and Tiffany, who oversees/explains the various exercises to remedy issues) are wonderful. You may have to wait to get an appointment with Bob, but he's definitely worth the wait!! 

    If you're open to different modalities, I would definitely consider osteopathy. I had chronic lower back pain for decades which has essentially been resolved after seeing an osteo for a while- I still do.  I've tried PT, acupuncture, cupping, chiro, Rolfing, Alexander Technique, massage, tai-ji, even contact improv dance (to loosen up).  Osteo is the real deal, IMO.  Most insurance pays (Anthem/BlueCross and UHC, as an out of network provider, in my experience).  Here's what seems like a short summary of some research on osteo for scoliosis:

    There are some (dated) recommendations here on BPN.  An up to date directory of providers seems to be here:

    DM me with more questions. Good luck!

    I recommend Michele Reddell. She's a craniosacral chiropractor, which means it's super gentle realignment of your whole body. She helped me greatly when I had chronic back problems (and believe me, I tried a lot of chiropractors and physical therapists). She's on Solano Ave. in Berkeley and her prices are reasonable. (510) 558-8258‬

Parent Reviews

Hi there. I'm so sorry about your injury. I've worked with the wonderful and talented Liz Duncanson, of Body Temple PT after my bilateral hip replacement. She's very good at looking at the whole body in relation to the injury and giving very specific strengthening exercises.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Physical therapist for hip

Feb 2013

I need to have PT on my hip. Can anyone please recommend a really good physical therapist in Berkeley or surrounding area? I have had PT for various orthopedic surgeries over the years in other parts of the country, and the good ones are hard to find. In particular, I have been recommended to Physiotherapy Associates in Berkeley and SOL in Oakland. If anyone has particular therapists to suggest, that would be very helpful. Thanks, Hopeful in Berkeley

I highly recommend SOL on College Ave for physical therapy. In particular, I specifically recommend Clarice Cummins. I have been going to Clarice at SOL for rehab on my knee and hip replacement. Although my hip surgery was many years ago, it wasn't until I went to Clarice at SOL that I felt like I got the proper attention for stretching and strengthening. They also are in a great location and have great trainers who teach you the exercises after you have spent time with your therapist. anon

Two top-notch PTs - have had wonderful results with both: Steve Ryan, Anjoe Physical Therapy: Janet Soto, Berkeley Physical Therapy: Jessica

I have to give a shout out to the PT I have been working with for the last several months. I can say in no uncertain terms, she has changed my life. I was in chronic and serious pain for several years on and off due to what was a chronic overuse injury and that was kind of a mystery to everyone else I saw. I saw several doctors and physical therapists over the years and none were able to help me. Then I met Amy Reitz. She is amazing. She really cares if you get better and will not lose focus until you do. She made sure my exercises were being done properly and her soft tissue work is incredible. Magic hands! I have to say I am about 90% better and am back to my active lifestyle. I cannot recommend her enough or say enough about her skill level. Her contact is amyreitzpt [at] Hope you get to feeling better soon. Up and Running

Physical therapist in Albany

Dec 2012

Hi, I'm looking for a physical therapy practice in Albany (or environs) and would love any leads. Thanks so much!

HI - Albany PT is generally good, and located in Albany off San Pablo Avenue, between Marin and Solano. It's in the same ''mini-mall'' as Happy Donuts and Round Table Pizza. There is also PT Innovations which is in El Cerrito, but very near the Albany border, on the El Cerrito side of the El Cerrito Plaza. I'm a practicing physician and have sent many dozens of patients to both facilities. Generally, I think Albany PT is probably a better bet for treatment at this time. I was treated at Albany PT myself many years ago, but my therapist has since left the group. I did, however, have very good results with her treatment. I have had some complaints that Innovations is using PT assistants and possibly students to provide treatments. David Clement I believe owns Albany PT, and has been there for many years. I am not as familiar with the other therapists who are there currently. Hope that helps. Local doc

I MUST tell you about Meridi Williams PT- she is an angel and highly gifted as a physical therapist/pilates instructor.

I am currently on a medical leave after struggling for 8 months with chronic sciatica and lower back pain. During this time I stopped all my outdoor activities of hiking, bicycling, yoga and even walking. I'd been taking 2,000mg of ibuprofen just to get through the day. My diagnosis is severe degenerative arthritis, and spondylolisthesis.

When I walked into Meridi's mat class for the first time 3 weeks ago, I was in tears after the first 2 minutes because I wasn't able to simply bend down like everyone else. She keyed into me and gave me specific instructions that differed from the rest of the class. Her voice was calm and nurturing and her instructions very precise. I left that class with greater flexibility. After three weeks of private sessions with Meridi, I can now walk briskly, bend a bit more, sustain a standing position for several hours and am now taking only 800-1,000mg of ibuprofen.

She has helped me become aware of how I use my muscles, both beneficially and not. She's helped me to strengthen areas that were becoming weak as a result of protective strategies due to pain. I am now walking much more comfortably without straining and I feel good! My sessions with her are medicine that will help me work with my back whether I decide to do surgery or not. I cannot recommend Meridi highly enough. If you are struggling with any physical limitations I am certain you will benefit from working with Meridi. And if you're not, she could be what keeps you from hurting yourself in the future.

Classes are easy to get to and the space is clean, spacious and cozy. Check her out at 1061 Eastshore Hwy Ste. 213, Just before Target in Albany. mallorie

PT/Rehab Specialist for Baseball elbow injury

Oct 2011

My 16 year-old son has a recurring elbow injury from playing baseball. I am looking for a physical therapist or rehab specialist who can guide him to healing his elbow and help him figure out what he is doing wrong with his pitching motion. Can anyone recommend someone to do this? I would love to hear from someone who has experience with this same injury. Daryl

I can't reccomend Lauren Masi at Lafayette Physical Therapy enough. She has extensive experience in sports injuries and is very good at what she does. You can reach her at 925-284-6150. Jacques

Hi there... Dr Greg Arnold is great and is all about Baseball! check out his website.. sara

Physical therapist for torn disk

Oct 2011

Hi, I'm looking for a good physical therapist for back pain. I searched the archives but they were a few years old. I'd especially like someone who can help with a torn disk, sciatica and numbness on one side. Thanks. - can't stand the pain

I recommend Edie Murphy, owner of Lakeview Functional Rehab Center in Oakland. I think she's the best PT in the East Bay, and I tried plenty when I have a back injury no one could figure out. She got me standing up at my wedding (no small feat), and back problems at all. I even backpack. She's good at deep tissue work, and good at giving effective home exercise programs. She's near Lake Merrit at (510) 451-5560. Good luck

Edie Murphy (; 510-451-5560) is the best physical therapist around. She'll pinpoint not just your problem areas, but why those are your problem areas. She combines bodywork with a very targeted set of stretches and exercies to get you on the right track. Highly recommend her. anon

low back pain/sciatica is one of the bread and butter of a physical therapist. you have to take into consideration the proximity of where you live or work. most PT's should be knowledgeable about your problem. make sure they accept your insurance too. Just in case you work or live close to San Ramon area, Matt Wollaston at San Ramon Regional Medical Center - 925 275 8442 will be great. or at San Leandro's Outpatient Rehabilitation Facility and ask for the only male therapist that works there 510 618 1800. PT friend

Nov 2010

I highly recommend Chris Gallo at VibrantCare in Pinole. He's a bright, creative, caring PT - I felt comfortable with him right away, and have had great success with him dealing with a variety of issues. I think there are several competent PT's in that office, but my personal favorite is Mr. Gallo. The number there is 510-724-1248 Good luck! - no longer in pain

I highly recommend Edie Murphy for physical therapy for your daughter. She is a very experienced and effective practitioner who greatly reduced my back pain. I know she has experience helping those with cerebral palsy. Her number is 510-451-5560. ariel

Physical therapist in Berkeley/Oakland

Oct 2010

PLease recommend a physical therapist in the Berkeley/Oakland area or in Walnut Creek area. Also, please give any input on Dr Delene Bivolcic or Dyanna Anfang. Thanks. Simona

Have you tried Oakland Manual Therapy? Randy Lind practices a form of physical therapy called called the Erickson method that has done wonders for my shoulder when traditional physical therapy did not work. His work takes physical therapy to a whole new level and gets people out of pain and back into life. I know several people who have gone to him and rave about the success they've had. Randy Lind Oakland Manual Therapy 2939 Summit Street Ste. 302 Oakland 510 459-7768 randy [at] laura

Physical therapy for dislocated knee

June 2010

I recently dislocated my knee and have been referred for physical therapy by my doctor. My health insurance group is Alta Bates Medical Group so I can go to any of the following providers: 1) Albany Physical Therapy 2) Berkeley Physical Therapy 3) Physical Therapy Innovations 4) Alta Bates Physical and Sports Therapy 5) Montclair Physical Therapy Does anyone have any experience with any of these providers? Thank you very much for your help! Liz

My husband went to Berkeley Physical Therapy, covered by Alta Bates HMO, and had a great experience with a hip injury and underlying hip degenerative changes. Can't speak for knees, but they did well with his hip. Lynn

Sorry to hear about your knee. I LOVE Dianne Kerns at Berkeley Physical Therapy! She is smart, patient, positive, and knows just what exercises to give you. Dianne is just great. The front desk staff at that office are also super helpful. - knee got better with Dianne

Physical therapy for knee problems

June 2010

I'd like recommendations good physical therapists. I've got mostly knee problems (meniscus and chondromalacia, both knees!) but also possibly related back and foot problems. Feedback, good or bad, on the following? Orthopaedics and Sports Leaders, Oakland Craig Norton at LaFoot, Berkeley Sports and Orthopaedics Specialists, Oakland Next Step, ALbany anybody else you love? and why? THANK YOU! janet

I sure do have a physical therapist (and practice) I would recommend: Simon Gibson at Montclair Physical Therapy in Oakland (510.339.2116). Actually I also would very much recommend Kris, the other PT at the practice. But I adore Simon.

1) Simon listens, feels, looks and gets to the root of the matter. Then he fixes it. With me it was a foot. I saw (and talked to) a lot of people with knees there, too, and shoulders, and backs. So while my recommendation is based on my foot, I would go back in a heartbeat for anything else.
2) They have a busy, cheerful, friendly practice that is tied in with the gym so there is a lot of equipment available for therapy-related exercises.
3) Simon's a New Zealander with a wry & dry sense of humor. I love having something to laugh about when I'm doing something boring like sitting with ice & stim on my foot.
4) Efficient administrative crowd. Scheduling, insurance, payments, etc. are straightforward and done right. They have early hours (like 7am) which means you can be in and out and make it to work.

I had tried many other things to solve a persistent inflammation and pain in the foot, and in a matter of weeks I was well on my way with Simon & the gang at Montclair PT. Check them out. - Nancy L

Earlier Reviews

Physical Therapy? Personal Trainer? Where to start

May 2010

Over the past year, my weight has gotten out of control and it is seriously affecting one of my knees, my foot, and the opposite hip due to overcompensation. I can feel/hear my knee grinding (ugh sorry) and while I know surgery may be required, I'd like to deal with the problem with physical therapy first. Along with that, I know if I dropped my excess weight it would help. I don't know where to start, though. Started Weight Watchers (again) to deal with the weight issue but what about the rest of my body? I'm a member of the YMCA in Berkeley, should I just use the physical therapists there? I've had arthroscopic surgery in the past (in '87) on that knee so I've lived with knee issues for a long time. Will a physical therapist help me with a workout routine for my body as well as the issues with my knee and foot? Lastly, I'd love some recommendations. I have Blue Cross PPO, if that helps. I don't know if I need a referral from my family practice doc. Thanks for any help!

I'd like to recommend Edie Murphy of Lakeview Functional Rehab Center in Oakland. She works out of a detached and very nice home office. She is excellent with knee pain, foot pain, and many other physical problems. She always creates an individualized exercise program to build strength along with the tissue work she does. When I saw her some years ago, she was a Blue Cross provider. I don't know if that's still the case.

She helped me with back, shoulder, and knee problems (at different times). I found her when I was searching for a good PT and had tried several (one made my problem worse). She was the only one who figured out the real problem and got me going again. She is way above average. At the time I had Kaiser insurance and paid her out of pocket - and it was worth every penny. I've since referred others to her, all with positive results.

To use insurance, you need a diagnosis from an MD, and a referral to physical therapy. For my later problems, I asked my doctor to refer to her. The referring doctor can be an MD, DO, or chiropractor. Edie is at 510.451.5560 Good luck

Since the weight is causing problems right now, perhaps something like lap band surgery would work. It's not as drastic as gastric bypass. It's adjustable and fully reversible. It sounds like you wanted to things the ''right'' way but you only have two knees and you already have problems with them. Your knees hurt so you don't exercise. You don't exercise so you are overweight. You're overweight so it hurts your knees. Don't feel guilty for taking a shortcut.

DEENA LEVY, at ''Move Easy Physical Therapy'' is a very detailed and attentive physical therapist. She has many years of experience in the field and brings a lot of integrity to her work. I would highly recommend that you call her to see if she can help you. She is located in Central Berkeley. You can reach her at 510-540-7816. She has a lot of connections with other professionals that she can point you to if she thinks you need other modalities to help your process. Good Luck! Leah

I have had a terrific experience with Bob Baker and the Emeryville Sports Physical Therapy office over the past 7 months. They have a wonderful team of therapists and well trained aides. I actually read about Bob on a post in Berkeley Parents Network last September when I moved to the area.

Bob presided over the post operative rehabilitation on both knees and my shoulder which have grown much stronger under his guided PT. His office never skimps on modalities or giving the patient time. Rather he emphasizes using as much electric stimulation, heat, ice, ultrasound, massage, soft tissue work, and manipulation of the surgical area as will make the patient comfortable and then designs a thorough and systematic exercise program.

The entire staff is personable and friendly. They all know how to listen and not just give advice or instructions. I really look forward to the appointments. And they are no-nonsense. If you are not doing an exercise correctly, you will be advised quickly.

Bob Baker in particular is cutting edge both in assessment and program design. He is very involved in research and is getting advanced degrees working with top medical personnel from around the country. He is also working on research projects with professionals from Stanford and USC. The training and reading he does hone his analytic skills and provide him with an arsenal of approaches to rehab that reflect the most current science in the field. A simple sample was that exercises I had been doing (squats against a wall) were only strengthening my overdeveloped quads at the expense of my gluts. The hips were underdeveloped and no doubt a factor in my knee problems. Bob's program, informed by current research, emphasized building up the key muscles which would prevent a recurrence of my injury. I have felt very lucky to be guided by someone as professionally capable, personable, and honest as Bob. Alan

Monclair Physical Therapy or other local gym?

Feb 2010

I am out of shape and that may be putting it mildly. I am ok with that because I am going to do something about it. I need to join a gym because I am having some feet/ankle issues that make walking (forget about running!) for exercise not an option. I am thinking stationary bikes, mild weights, some personal training to get me started. I have been looking around at what the options are and it seems like Montclair Physical Therapy & Wellness might be a good option for me. Can anyone recommend this on the basis of it being a gym - not just for PT? I live in Montclair so it seems convenient and low-key. Is this true? I really do not want to feel intimidated by all the in-shape people who go to the gym. Do you think this could be the gym for me or do you have any other recommendations. Thanks Ready to Get Fit

I would really recommend you make an appt. with Em Squires at the Working Body. She is a really unique Physical Therapist using manual functional physical therapy. My wife has had serious injuries, surgeries, etc. and working with Em is unwinding a lot of the issues that she's had. The Working Body also has personal trainers and pilates and a variety of ways to work out. I'd recommend checking it out. Rachel

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

Physical Therapist for Achy Distance Runner

Oct 2009

I'm 43 and recently returned to distance running after many years off for pregnancy and an ankle surgery. With longer runs I'm having pain in my lower back and hips that feels like it wraps around the lower part of my abdomen. I'm looking for a physical therapist or M.D. who will help me figure out where this pain is coming from and how to address it with strengthening exercises. I want one or two visits for a consultation with someone who practices sports medicine. (Sorry, not open to chiropractic care.) Thanks! Middle-Aged Running Mama

Hands down, I would recommend SOL PT in Oakland (at the corner of College and Broadway). I live in N. Berkeley and gladly made the trek over there. I have had years of joint and back problems and they have made a huge difference in my life. I saw Tammara Moore (the founder and co-owner). She is extremely knowledgeable, thorough, and caring. They treat all types of patients and problems, but they are also very sports oriented. Sessions combine time with a PT followed by time with a personal trainer to work on home exercises and strength training. They are a great team of people. 510-547-1630 Feeling good in N. Berk

I recently started some work with Kevyn Sebastian. She works out of a studio within 7th Heaven Yoga in Berkeley. She recently moved here from Austin. She does myofascial work, Active Trigger point release work and functional strength training. She really knows her stuff and loves her work. She would be a great person to work with. a misaligned athlete

Achy Runner, I would wholeheartedly recommend my amazing physical therapist, Lynn Shankliess. You can find all her info at I have been running casually most of my life, but back in 2002 I began having hamstring/hip issues. I went to at least SIX different physical therapists over 4 years who were unable to help. Lynn thoughtfully listened to my plight and analyzed my entire body (not just working on my hamstring). She found most of the issues in my back, corrected that and I've been back to running (even a little racing) for over a year. She's truly amazing and has a super personality to boot. Good luck! Laurie

Physical therapy after cervical spine surgery

Nov 2008

I am recovering from surgery on my cervical spine. I would like to start physical therapy close to home in Alameda or vicinity. Anyone have a recommendation? Jenny

I have seen Deirdre McLoughlin for a wicked back injury and she is fantastic. Her practice is located in the Strawberry Creek Bldg. on Addison in Berkeley, and she is extremely caring, knowledgeable and focused on each patient. Unlike many pt practices where you get handed off to different assistants and trainers, Deirdre spends a full 50 min/hour with each patient herself and puts her entire attention on your care. She works with her patients on all the usual PT things- ongoing assessment and progress tracking, exercises, stretches, icing, ultrasound, estim, massage, but because she doesn't hand you off to other people to do pieces of your treatment, she is 100% attentive and responsive to what she thinks you most need. She doesn't take insurance, but I got a big chunk of her fee reimbursed by my ins. company. 510-883-1126. ALISSA

Physical therapy after rotator cuff surgery

Nov 2008

I will be having rotator cuff surgery in the Boston area soon and will be staying with my daughter and her family in the East Bay Area to recuperate. I am looking for recommendations for a physical therapy facility in the Orinda area. Thank you. anon

I can highly recommend Physical Therapy Associates of San Ramon, as the best of breed. Both my teenage daughter and myself have been going there as needed for 5 years for our specific healing and have found the care to be exceptional. We drive all the way from Alameda as we have found no better. They are easy to access off 680 at 2817 Crow Canyon Road. Call 925-838-9846 and ask for Pat Scott. Enjoy! Louise and Sarah happy patients

I had a very good PT experience with Bob Baker of Emeryville Physical Therapy. About 1 year ago I severely injured my right shoulder and had to undergo surgery to repair tears in both my subscapular tendon and labrum. My surgeon was concerned that an unknowledgeable PT might re-injure my shoulder and therefore recommended I use Bob for my PT. I visited Bob's office twice a week for about 3 months and received excellent care and advise. Today I have 100% mobility and strength in my shoulder. The icing on the cake was that Bob's approach to PT resulted in very little pain. I was warned by friends that PT stood for 'Physical Terrorist'. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that no severe pain was involved in the process. Bob takes a slow and steady approach that gets maximum results with minimal discomfort. Bill

Physical therapist for shoulder injury

May 2008

Hi, Looking for a good, experienced physical therapist in my Hill Physicians Network to rehab from a shoulder injury. The only places that are covered are: NovaCare Rehab in Oakland Flex Physical Therapy in Oakland Pacer Physical Therapy in Walnut Creek Anyone have a good (great?) experience with a PT at these places? Any advice is much appreciated, Maura

I highly recommend Flex Physical Therapy. I had a back pain and I was given ideas and ways to get rid of the pain. It worked! The staff is wonderful. anon

I tried 4 different Hill Physicians' PTs, and attempted a request for an out of network assignment (refused) before I changed to AltaBates (now Sutter Group) and got a great PT (Allan at Berkeley PT). For some bizarre reason Hill has even refused to certify Summit Hospital PT -- which has good PTs and would be willing to be part of the Hill network; they tried to get re-certified by Hill Physicians, and were unable to do so. Sadly, your best solution is to switch out of Hill Physicians, if you can, to get a decent PT. --glad to have better PT care than Hill offered

Physical therapist for chronic knee problems

April 2008

I am having chronic knee problems. I know it falls under the catagory of patella-femoral syndrome. It has been so bad that I have dislocated my patella in the past. I am looking for a physical therapist that focuses (in their practice) on this type of condition. Any recommendations? diane

You might want to try Physical Therapy Innovations in El Cerrito. They have great therapists and specialize in knee and back pain. They also have Pilates and Aquatic physical therapy if you should need it. PTI also has 2 other clinics in Oakland and Orinda if that is more convenient for you. The tel no is 510-524-2177 and you can go to their website for more information. A.

I know an excellent physical therapist who specializes in chronic knee problems. Her name is Deena Levy (510) 540-7816. She's dedicated to her profession and excels at finding solutions. I've seen her for treatment and she's the best. She's located at 2301 Grant St. in Berkeley. L.

I was diagnosed with patella-femoral syndrome last year. I have been going to June Graham PT at UCSF sports medicine clinic at Mt. Zion campus. She is an expert in knees, and is great. The telephone number is 415-353-7598. R.

Physical therapist for fractured hip

July 2007

Hi, I'm looking for a good physical therapist in the East Bay for fractured hip. anon

I am also looking for a PT in the East Bay, so hope to hear the responses. I had an unfavorable experience with Flex PT on Broadway in Oakland. In particular, I found the owner to be arrogant and disinterested in my case. The office manager was also terse. During my appointment, my PT, the owner, was distracted, somewhat flighty and just generally not focused on me, as she kept getting called away. Her recommendations conflicted with what my doctor and nurse's recommendations were and when I asked her about it, she was defensive and said she had the final say. I found her unprofessional and won't be going back. anon

May 2007

I am looking for a really good physical therapist who has experience with hips and young patients. Please send along any recommendations. anon

Sports and Orthopedic Specialists at 6300 Telegraph Ave in Oakland has a great group of physical therapists that can work with young clients and orthopedic issues of all kinds. You can call them at 547-8293 dawn

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

Oct 2006

Re: Chiropractor who specializes in feet
I know a person who is not a chiropractor, but a licensed physical therapist as well as certified Feldenkrais worker and Pilates trainer. She is fantastic with foot issues. I had severe plantar fascitis (couldn't get my heel on the floor!) and was running again after two treatments, it has never come back in four years since. My daughter had foot pain for years and years, similarly after two treatments, has been painfree for years. She's great, great personality too. Her name: Kaivee, her phone: (510) 504-5484. She's in North West Berkeley, off Gilman by San Pablo Avenue, accessible and easy to get to. Leia

May 2006

Re: Chiropractor for postpartum back pain
I highly recommend Em Squires. She is a physical therapist who specializes in post partum issues, including posture. She also does adjustments, and insurance covers her if it covers physical therapy. She works near Lake Merrit. 286-8100 (I think). she is really knowledgable and very kind. Just fantastic. she knows more than the doctors I saw for some pp issues. I loved Em.

There is a physical therapist in the East Bay that specializes in postpartum healing and rehab. She helped me with my prenatal and postpartum postural issues. Her name is Suzanne Koval, MSPT and she can be reached at suzannekoval[AT] asayeed

April 2006

Can anyone recommend an excellent Physical Therapist in the Alameda/Berkeley/Oakland area, who is experienced with miofacial release? I had some major surgery on my legs 2 months ago, and am trying to gain my mobility and strength back while dealing with a lot of tightening from scar tissue. Someone who accepts Blue Shield PPO insurance would be a plus. rachel

I highly recommend Edie Murphy, (510) 451-5560. She is very experienced, intuitive, and finds muscles I did not even know I had. She is in Oakland and bills Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Ariel

March 2006

I would like a recommendation in North Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito for a physical therapist who gets the job done without drawing the therapy out for weeks. I want someone who will teach me the exercises I need and make sure I am doing them properly. It seems that so many physical therapists use the insurance payments to give their patients questionable treatments instead of teaching them how to use thier bodies to prevent injury, how to work hard to overcome the condition and how to set up a home program to continue the treatment. I want someone who is straightforward. Any suggestions? Lydia

I want to recommend Patrick Hannum Physical Therapy. He is located on Gilman and 4th street in Berkeley. This is a unique Physical Therapy clinic that provides quality hands-on manual therapy. Patrick is also a certified Rolfer which is a type of deep-tissue work. He has one other Rolfer and two other P.T.'s that work there also with great skills. They have a Pilates reformer for exercise training. I went to him for a chronic neck problem and then went through the Rolf series afterwards. It is amazing how much he has helped me. He is a blue cross and blue shield preferred provider. This is not your typical office. Linda

2003 & Earlier

July 2003

Has anyone had experience with a physical therapist named Dr. Janet Soto? She has been recommended to work with me for my ruptured disc. Thanks, Elyse

I've seen Janet Soto for different body parts, specifically shoulder and lower back, and I thought she was great. It has been a while since my last visit, but she was also recommended by a physical therapist friend who occasionally worked with her. She's a really nice person as well as a good PT. Robbie

November 2002

Any suggestions for a physical therapist who has particular expertise with knee problems? I looked in the p.t. archives but not a lot of therapists were touted as being particularly focused on knee stuff.

You should call Simon at Montclair Physical Therapy in Montclair, Oakland. He is a God in my book. I pay my own money, (I changed insurance and they will only allow me go to South Phyical Therapy)to see Simon and he has always made it better. Keep in mind that he will put you to work to strengthen which ever muscle needs it to make up feel better long term. But if you do the work he prescribes -- he has machines in his office-- you will get better. JDrew

Edie Murphy is an excellent physical therapist and Aston Patterner. She's in Oakland off of the lake. Her number is 451-5560. She doesn't specifically specialize in knees but she's very experienced and certainly knows knees and knee injuries. Good luck June

Patrick Hannum is a physical therapist and Rolffer who has been working on my knees as well as other issues. Patrick offers the added benefit of doing great deep tissue work in addition to standard PT work. I highly recommend him. He is located in the Tannery on 4th and Gilman, and his number is 524-6422. Maria

I have been to several therapists and had no improvement with a knee/hip problem I have until I found Karl Schmetz. I have experienced such dramatic improvement so quickly I am convinced he must be a witch doctor! He was recommended to me by a co- worker who had a very serious ski accident two years ago and was told he would never walk again. With Karl's help, he not only walks but he even skis. He also works with a lot of professional ballet dancers and athletes who, I am sure, have a lot of knee problems. He is in SF but right at the Montgomery BART stop, very easy to get to and well worth the commute. He has been a miracle worker for me. (415) 722-4415 Nicole

Two P.T.'s I'd recommend are Patrick Hannum and Lynn Schankliess (sp.?). Pat has an office down in the Tannery complex on Gilman and his number is 510-524-6422. He is super experienced, and a great guy to boot. He has a master's degree in PT but is also a certified Rolfer. Lynn works (or did work) at the Tang Center on Campus, and did wonders for my chronic knee problems. I like them both because they don't just give you a bunch of exercises and send you off into the blue -- they actually do some real bodywork, and as athletes (cyclist, runner) they're both attuned to the idea that you want to be able to get back into action soon. anon

I've been going to Albany Physical Therapy and have been pleased with the exercises and level of service. jamie

January 2001

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with the following physical therapists, especially for recovery from knee or other joint surgery? Alta Bates health pavilion on Telegraph Berkely Physical Therapy on Bancoroft Herrick Physical/Occupational Therapy on Dwight Craig Norton or Ortho-Sport Physical Therapy on College Wendy Katzman or Physiotherapy Associates Thanks! Raissa

I was treated by Laura at Herrick for a long-term shoulder problem and was very satisfied. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Fran

I have had extensive physical therapy and thus have encountered a number of physical therapists in the Berkeley area: My experience with Alta Bates Pavillion was ok, but I felt it was like being in a factory. Each time I went I had a different assistant. I didn't feel I was getting individual treatment or have much privacy since it was all out in the open. Craig Norton use to manage the Alta Bates Pavillion at that time. The concept was to provide service to a lot of people simultaneously with very few certified physical therapists, a lot of PT assistants/students, and save money. I often felt that Craig was not professional - in his comments to patients, and how he handled the physical privacy of his clients. I would not go back to that clinic nor go to Craig's clinic on College Ave. My experience with Berkeley Physical Therapy has been generally positive, except the office staff are often unhelpful, unfriendly, and very involved with their private phone conversations. Allen Horowitz is very good there and I saw him for my back and shoulders. I would recommend seeing him. My best physical therapist so far is Ellen Bier, who use to be at Berkeley Physical Therapy for many years, but now has her own private practice. I have seen her for my back, shoulder, neck and feet. She does a lot of hands on work, sets up a home exercise program that is realistic and not overwhelming, knows how to encourage you to do your part of keeping your body in shape and out of trouble. Her hands on work has been effective to me, where I have walked out of there with my back feeling normal within one session. Along with all this, she is a great person - and fun and personable. The only drawback is that she doesn't take health insurance. She can be reached at 510-843-9110,and her office is in Berkeley.

I don't have experience with the therapists you list, but I highly recommend Allen Ling at Physical Therapy Innovations, 425 Kearney St. in El Cerrito, telephone 524-2177. He is a UC Berkeley grad in molecular and cell biology who now has many years of experience in this field. He is truly exceptional - highly intelligent, astute and kind. He helped me after two years of physical therapy with different therapists failed to get me beyond a somewhat-recovered plateau. Betsy

I had responded earlier about recommendations for Physical Therapy. I had strongly recommended Ellen Bier (843-9110) who has her own private practice in Berkeley. While she doesn't take HMO like health insurance, she will take patients who are covered by workers compensation, med pay through their car insurance plans, and patients with PPO type of health insurance. I also want to add that Ellen, having experienced a number of injuries herself, is very empathetic and can understand the pain and difficulties of her patients.

I went to Wendy Katzman briefly for a back problem, and really liked her. She was a good listener and really targeted the areas I needed. Very helpful and realistic. I also saw someone else in her office, and liked her as well although I can't think of her name. S. Martin

Toby 7/99

I took my daughter and also went myself to SOS (sports orthopedic specialists) and saw John King. He's great and really knows the human body. I really got that healing myself from my injury was really my responsiblity. He could help me, but only if I did the exercises that he gave me. I didn't want to know this. I would much rather have gone somewhere where the therapist just treated and healed me, but the reality is that the healing is mostly in your hands. So, John is great and gives great exercises. We've been to 2 other physical therapists, one on San Pablo near Albany (don't remember the name) and Berkeley Physical Therapy and I think John is the absolute best!

Judy (7/99)

My husband had a serious knee injury for which he needed LOTS of physical therapy. He went to Sports & Orthopedic Specialists. He adores Pien, his therapist there. She is extremely knowledgeable, and uses the right balance of gentleness & pushing. Her kindness & wonderful sense of humor help a lot too!