How to Avoid Ski Injuries This Winter

Posted by | Posted in ACL, Community, Education, knee injuries, Our Therapists, Skiing, Tips & Favorites | Posted on 02-08-2017

How to avoid skiing injuriesSPEAR Physical Therapist and Ski Instructor Gives Five Ways to Prevent Common Ski-Related Knee Problems

It’s peak ski season here in New York City, and ski injuries are presenting at physical therapy offices throughout NYC. The most common by far, are to the knee, specifically the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

Matt Hastings, PT, DPT at SPEAR, was a ski instructor in Breckenridge, Colorado, for three years prior to becoming a physical therapist, and his passion for snow sports runs deep. So does his experience with all kinds of ski and boarding-related injuries, particularly the dreaded ACL tear—dreaded due to its frequency and the duration of recovery, often six months or more.

Even with a decline in ski injuries over the last number of years, if 2017 is like prior seasons, 20,000 skiers (more commonly women) will tear ACLs this year. The good news? Many ACL tears and other injuries can be avoided with some focused pre-ski training and vigilance on the slopes.

Hastings offers five tips for an injury-free ski season.

1: Strengthen Specific Muscles Prior to Your First Ski Trip

Improving overall fitness—endurance, strength, stability and power— can go a long way toward helping you prevent ACL and other ski injuries. Isolating muscle groups like the quads, glutes and hamstrings is key to maintaining balance when skiing or snowboarding. In the lead up to ski season, Hastings recommends  a combination of isolation, compound and plyometric exercises such as wall sits, lunges, box jumps, front squats and Bosu squat holds that parallel the movements in skiing and snowboarding.

2:Warm-Up Before Hitting the Slopes

Adequate stretching will help get you to après ski in one piece. Hastings prescribes an active dynamic warm up with a focus on movements that mimic activities you are about to perform, including lunge walks (forward and lateral), narrow and wide squats, quad pulls and knee hugs.

3: When Scared or Out of Control, Go to the Side

“We have a tendency when we are scared to sit backwards, which forces the knee into a position where you’re in the greatest danger of tearing your ACL,” Hastings says. “You want to go to the side if you’re feeling out of control or unsafe while making sure to avoid obstacles and other skiers.” By bending your knees slightly and falling onto your hip you will avoid putting your knee in a dangerous position that could lead to injury.

4: Listen to Your Body

“When you’re getting to that point when your body is telling you no, there’s a reason for that.” Ski easier at the end of the day, when you are typically fatigued.

5: Follow Ski Codes

There is a skier Responsibility Code established by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) that includes stopping in a place that’s safe for you and others, looking uphill and yielding to other skiers, knowing how to use the lifts safely, and always staying in control. “Pay attention and watch out not only for yourself, but for everyone else.”

SPEAR Wins National Entrepreneurship Award

Posted by | Posted in Community, Our Therapists, Rewards, SPEAR in the media, Team SPEAR-IT | Posted on 01-03-2017


blog post header National Entrepreneurship Month Winner

Being recognized for providing great service to customers? We’ll take it! That’s what we live for!

Thanks to our HR software business partner Zenefits, SPEAR recently received a National Entrepreneurship Month award for our “creativity, service to customers, and contributions to the economy.” Zenefits recognized a limited number of successful businesses back in November, and SPEAR was honored to be included.

Zenefits lists the following reasons for honoring SPEAR:

1. Our democratic management structure
2. The prominent voice our employees have in the workplace
3. Our SPEAR Future Leader Program, which trains staff to lead the company into the future

Zenefits is a valuable SPEAR business partner, and has helped us improve our recruiting and HR systems during a time of significant growth – as we’ve opened five new offices in the last two years.

Thank you, Zenefits! We’re happy to serve our customers.

How We Won The Practice of the Year Award

Posted by | Posted in Community, Events, Fun & Sundry, Inspiration, Our Therapists, Rewards, SPEAR in the media, Team SPEAR-IT | Posted on 11-22-2016

As much of an honor it is to be named the Practice of the Year, the process that got us there was equally as enjoyable.

Being nominated by a highly-respected industry colleague, then working with our internal team to complete the Nomination Form, gave us a chance to really appreciate each and every one of our teammates and colleagues, as well as the amazing field we’re so lucky to be in, which helps our fellow man get “back to life”.

Here we show you all the documents and media associated with this process, from initial recommendation letter through the acceptance speech, and our announcement. We hope it becomes a ‘time capsule’ of sorts, and allows us to look back on this time with great reverence for years to come.

Our CEO, Dan Rootenberg’s, Acceptance Speech



The Letter of Support

The official “Letter of Support,” authored by Alan Balavender, President of PTSMC in West Hartford CT, offers additional insight into why SPEAR’s team members stood out in 2016.

Our Award Introduction Video



Awards Ceremony Pictures





Purpose and Criteria

The Jayne L. Snyder Practice of the Year Award is given to a practice for innovative operation or a specific project, which promotes a positive image of physical therapist-owned businesses in the community. It also acknowledges an individual member who has made outstanding and enduring contributions to their community.

The criteria for the award is that the practice must:

1) Demonstrate innovative operation or a specific project which promotes a positive image of physical therapist-owned businesses in the community.


2) Have positively affected the shape, scope and a quality of physical therapist-owned businesses.

3) Have contributed to the overall and enduring development of physical therapy as a caring profession.

4) Demonstrate a commitment to mentoring.

Our Blog Post Announcement

SPEAR Named The Nation’s Top Physical Therapy Practice

Always Improving — Even Our Look!

Posted by | Posted in Back to Life, Community, Fun & Sundry, Inspiration, Team SPEAR-IT | Posted on 11-15-2016

The Meaning of Our New Logo:

From SPEAR President, Dan Rootenberg


“It is our belief that we are not put on this earth to simply be who we are. We are here to evolve, develop, self-actualize. That is the fractal inside SPEAR at every level.  In our logo, SPEAR’s origin is symbolized by maroon, our original color palate, currently going into its 18th year. However, we are evolving, moving forward, and shaping our future. The blue sky color we have introduced represents the future that we see for our team, our patients, our community. The nexus between the blue sky and the labor of love (maroon) is the deep red where the magic happens, where we heal the world, our patients and ourselves, one relationship at a time. Going into the future, stronger, together.

You may also notice the letters are spaced out with room to grow. The room we all need to occasionally make mistakes, to not be perfect, never to be finished. The letters rounded, and uncrowded, without sharp edges, still evolving much like each of us. Life can’t wait.”

-Dan Rootenberg, SPEAR President


The Details Behind The Logo:

From the SPEAR Marketing and Design Team


The SPEAR team has worked to outperform itself each and every month for 18 years. In that time, we’ve grown from two guys sharing one treatment room to 150 team members across ten NYC locations.

We thought it was time for our second logo refresh.

SPEAR Physical Therapy Logo over time

Our Focus

Change can be hard. But change can be good. And we believe that we accomplished a quality change. But it wasn’t easy.

We established a few key priorities:

Vision: Show ourselves to be a great COMPANY, with a vision for the future; not just a great PHYSICAL THERAPY company.

Never forget: Provide A NOD TO OUR PAST, but evolve beyond our current design.

Relationships: Continue to focus on our highest business priority: RELATIONSHIPS. The relationships we’ve built, and continue to build, with referring physicians, local hospitals, our amazing team, community fundraising organizations, and of course the thousands of individual New Yorkers we build bonds with each and every day that we are here to serve.

An Iconic Design

We wanted to have a recognizable icon that could be easily used across multiple platforms, specifically from business cards and t-shirts, to Facebook and Twitter.

And the SPEAR guy was first place to start. He symbolized activity and health, seemed to offer an obvious acknowledgment to what type of company we were, formed an abstract “S” to hint at the first letter of our name, and had been with us through two logos and nearly 18 years!

So in an effort to honor our humble beginnings, we brainstormed numerous versions of a new “SPEAR Guy.” We aimed to maintain our past and ensure our loyal followers could immediately recognize our new look.

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screenshot-2016-11-14-16-06-17  screenshot-2016-11-14-15-36-56screenshot-2016-11-14-15-36-18


But to the SPEAR team, none of these evolutions properly displayed our focus on RELATIONSHIPS, and none even hinted towards a VISION of continual improvement. And as we researched industry competition a bit more, we realized this symbol of an abstract human became just too cliche for the industry. (Google it and you will see!) It seemed that achieving a unique look by keeping our “SPEAR Guy” icon might be an impossible task.

And besides, maybe it was time to completely reinvent ourselves. Once again, the mantra is that we are now a great company in general — not just a great physical therapy company.

We became more specific in certain terms we wanted to drive the design, and even practiced using them when explaining the logo to people who asked. These terms included: unity, bond, friendship, interdependence, dynamic, fluidity, aspiration, direction, wholeness, goals, connectivity, movement, power, excelling, guidance, drive, focus and healing.

You will see each of these words, visually, within the designs below. And we also explored utilizing the “S” again on its own as our “icon of the future.”

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Now we were talking! A handful of these designs began to stand out, and appeared to us as obvious visual versions of the words and terms we prioritize each day. Especially:

Relationships: Bonding, Interdependence, Interconnectivity, and Alignment.

Vision: Growth, Direction, Outperforming, Improving, Aspiration, Goals, Movement, Excelling, and Guidance.

We began to eliminate from here.

The sharp, pointed-edge icons were eliminated because we believed the subconscious fear of sharp edges in healthcare.


We eliminated the “S” icons because they were too similar to other logos, and simply didn’t offer that subjective beauty we were looking for. The hand icons seemed too literal, and may have given viewers the sense that we only treated hands, so they were also eliminated.

screenshot-2016-11-14-16-04-10 screenshot-2016-11-14-16-04-31 screenshot-2016-11-14-16-03-53 screenshot-2016-11-14-16-04-46

We narrowed it down to the following, which provided the perfect combination of bonding and improvement, interdependency and forward-thinking:

screenshot-2016-11-14-16-01-20 screenshot-2016-11-14-17-29-49 screenshot-2016-11-14-16-03-12

screenshot-2016-11-14-16-03-29 screenshot-2016-11-14-16-01-40

The “Upward A-Legs” Overlapping Arrow

We call it the “Upward A-Legs,” or “Upward A” for short. (Overlapping Arrow is also a less creative option!) Each logo that made our short list included an icon similar to the Upward A-Legs, which offered a few possible abstract interpretations:

A Spear: A fairly-literal ‘spear’ that could help with name recognition

Forward Direction: A forward or upward-facing arrow that showed we had a vision of constant improvement and progress

Legs: When upright they appear to be abstract legs, which we know are the base of a person’s body and activities.

Overlap: Overlapping lines and colors, which represent how interdependent our business and people have become, and how each of our parts become “multipliers” in our vision. Our whole is greater than the sum of our parts.

And of course one more literal use that needs very little interpretation: it will be used to spell the “A” in SPEAR.


Pop and Past

Without our SPEAR Guy or “S” icons turning more into an abstract symbol, the only way for us to honor our past was through color. The maroon color had been with us from Day 1, and the gray for eight years as a highlight and text color. So we started there.

But we needed more. We wanted to add a noticeable “pop,” for lack of a better word, and hoped to catch the eyes of today’s surfers and skimmers.

Let the exploration begin:



More than Pop and Past

But it quickly became much deeper than that. As we put more thought into the importance of color, our CEO, Dan Rootenberg became more reflective. In our discussions, we unearthed a deep belief: that we were not put on this earth to simply be who we are; we are here to evolve, develop, and self-actualize.

That is what SPEAR symbolizes.

So the SPEAR origins shall be symbolized by the maroon, our 18-year-old color who will NOT be moving out this year. However, we are also evolving, moving forward, and shaping the future.

How do we symbolize that through color and not just through our logo’s icon?

Blue. Our blue sky approach to growth. The blue sky represents the endless sea of unlimited future growth and opportunity that we see for our team, our patients, and our community. It’s our visionary approach that we believe offers unlimited potential for our team and community.

The Nexus

The nexus — where the colors from each side of the “Upward A-Legs” overlap and combine — identifies where and how “the magic happens.” Our blue sky vision of the future combines with the deep maroon color of our labor of love from the past. This is where the healing occurs, where doctors meet our therapists who meet the community that makes life. Most importantly, this is where patient and therapist meet to depend on each other to get back to life — one relationship at a time, stronger together.


One more note about the typeface. You will notice the letters are spaced out with room to grow; the room we all need to occasionally make mistakes, to not be perfect, never to be finished. And the letters themselves are rounded, uncrowded without sharp edges. They seem to be still evolving, much like each of us, sturdy yet still strong.

The End Result


Thank You

Thank you for giving our company the chance to positively impact your life, and we hope our “Upward-A” becomes an inspirational icon as we get you Back To Life. Because we know that Life Can’t Wait.

SPEAR Named The Nation’s Top Physical Therapy Practice

Posted by | Posted in Back to Life, Community, Events, Inspiration, Rewards, SPEAR in the media, Team SPEAR-IT | Posted on 11-09-2016

SPEAR is the Best Physical Therapy Practice in the CountryEach year, The American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) Private Practice Section (PPS) grants the Jayne L. Snyder Practice Award to the single Physical Therapy practice that best represents and contributes to the physical therapy industry. And that was us!

Long story short: because our staff is focused on impacting lives, we have been named the nation’s top physical therapy practice!

This all comes on the heels of us receiving a year’s worth of unprecedented recognition. But this, the most coveted annual private practice award in the industry, takes the cake!

The award itself is called “the Jayne L. Snyder Practice Award,” and our co-founder, Dan Rootenberg, PT, DPT, CSCS received the award in front of his cheering executive team and hundreds of industry professionals at the PPS Annual Conference in Las Vegas on October 22nd.

Here is the video that the APTA used to introduce us at the Conference:


The PPS receives multiple Jayne L. Snyder award nominees each year from the more than 50,000 private practices across the country. These nominees are nominated by both peers in the industry, and by the PPS governing body. After review by a committee, the award is ultimately given to the only private practice that has shown it’s made the largest impact on, and increased the visibility of, the entire nation’s physical therapy industry.

As the winner, SPEAR exhibited superior achievement in the following areas when compared to other physical therapist—owned businesses throughout the country:

1) Demonstrated innovative operations and involvement in specific projects that promoted a positive image for the industry.

2) Had positively affected the shape, scope and the quality of industry businesses.

3) Contributed to the overall and enduring development of physical therapy as a caring profession.

4) Demonstrated a commitment to mentoring.

As he was handing out the award to us, APTA President Terry Brown said, “SPEAR PT has made a uniquely positive impact on the profession of physical therapy. SPEAR has elevated the reputation and exposure of the private practice physical therapist on a state, regional, and national level.”

We are honored to receive this award, and it has inspired us to continue to be the best representative of the industry we can possibly be. We hope you see that shining through each and every employee and interaction we have with each and every one of you.

Thank you!