March 22, 2018: Laura Hsiung has always been physically active. Once a competitive gymnast, she continued an active lifestyle playing handball regularly. It was in the middle of a game in 2010, when she was walking off the court, she began experiencing a sudden and unusual walking pattern. Her left foot stopped functioning correctly, forcing her to walk on the outside of her foot just to get around.
And it was not just temporary; it remained day after day. Strangely, it only occurred while she walked, not when she engaged in sports activities. What followed for Hsiung was a years-long odyssey through the health care system. She searched for answers through a succession of specialists—including orthopedists, a podiatrist, and a neurologist—before landing with a physical therapist, who finally helped provide the correct diagnosis. Her ordeal not only inspired a career change to physical therapy, but also a segment of the Washington Post’s “Medical Mysteries” series on hard-to-diagnose conditions.
In the episode of Move Forward Radio, Laura Hsiung and physical therapist John Jowers discuss her medical mystery, how they achieved a diagnosis, and how the condition affects Laura today.
Download the podcast on iTunes or listen below.
Laura Hsiung, PTA, is a physical therapist assistant at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Clinic in Bethesda, Maryland. Prior to her job in physical therapy, Laura worked in legal software sales for more than 25 years. After navigating a mysterious condition that affected her ability to walk normally, Laura was inspired to leave a career in legal software sales to work as a physical therapist assistant.
John Jowers PT, DPT, is a board-certified clinical specialist in sports physical therapy, board-certified specialist in orthopaedic physical therapy, and a strength coach at Launch Sports Performance in Rockville, Maryland. He specializes in rehabilitation, and design of prevention programs for a variety of athletic injuries; particularly for runners and injuries such as ACL tears, tendinopathies, concussions, overhead throwers, and foot and ankle injuries.