Heriberto Avila, a former Belvidere North, Ill, wrestler, whose left leg was amputated at midthigh after an injury sustained during a match, said the only thing missing in his rehabilitation at the OSF Saint Anthony Center for Sports Medicine and Health Fitness was salsa dancing.

A.J. Sartino, PT, called in Lauren Plum, another OSF PT, who is also a dance and Zumba instructor. Plum, who jumped at the chance to work with Avila, said there is a strength component for him in salsa dancing, but also a big balance component: "He’s learning how to get used to his leg, learning how to shift his weight onto and off of his leg, and how to balance when he adjusts to a new environment."

Sartino said bringing Plum into Avila’s rehabilitation was a matter of matching a patient’s desires with an available resource.

The salsa dancing offers Avila therapeutic applications with weight shifting, agility, balance, and coordination. Avila is adapting to a new hydraulic prosthesis that reacts in kind to how much pressure he puts on it.

"The therapy is always there, but with salsa dancing you do some of the therapeutic practices like weight bearing on my residual lifts, so it has a lot of use,” Avila said.

[Source: Rockford Register Star]