Featured Clinician: Robert Manske

Featured Clinician: Robert Manske

Featured Clinician: Robert Manske

Keeping His Passion Alive

After receiving his master’s in physical therapy, Manske became frustrated with the profession he loved because many people he worked with didn’t seem to want to get well.

“My wife talked me into applying for a sports fellowship program,” Manske said.

While he didn’t feel he had what it took, he was still accepted. Manske and his family packed up their bags for the year-long fellowship and he worked with sports orthopedic therapist Dr. George Davies. During his time with Davies in 1997-1998, Manske decided he wanted to become a teacher.

“I didn’t want to get completely out of the clinic,” he said. “Like Davies, I still wanted to practice.”

Now, a teacher at Wichita State, he gets the best of both worlds.  

“It's fun to teach people,” Manske said. “If you're a teacher, you like teaching and you like talking to people. It’s unbelievable how many people you meet over the years.” 

Insight for Someone Just Getting Started in Their Career

While a lot of people think you need to do lots of complicated things to do therapy, Manske says it’s not all that difficult.

“You really need to understand the basics well,” he said. “Then, you can build on it the rest of your life.” 
Manske also says it’s important for people to realize you will fail occasionally, and that’s OK.

“As much as you want to cure everybody and fix everybody and save everybody from having surgery and be the perfect therapist - you can't,” Manske says.

The key to being a better therapist is to figure out afterwards what you could have done better, and then get better at it. 

How to be a Published Clinician and Speak Professionally

Manske’s biggest advice for an aspiring clinician hoping to get published some day is to write and hone your skills.

“If you have a great idea, submit your paper to a publisher,” Manske says. “Their feedback, whether positive or negative, can help you get insight on to what you need to work on or are doing well.”

Just like writing, you must put yourself out there if you want to speak professionally. While you won’t always be chosen, that’s OK.

Instead, he says try again, so when you do land the gig, it will be more memorable. 

Conferences to Get Involved and Keep Learning Physical Therapy

Since he’s spoken at so many different events, Manske gave us a short list of his suggested conferences for a physical therapist that wants to learn more.

1. American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy
2. American Academy of Orthopedic Sports Surgeons (AAOSM) 
3. OSET Orthopaedic Summit 
4. American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) Combined Section Meeting

Blood Flow Restriction Used in Physical Therapy

While some things haven’t changed much over the years, Manske says one thing he’s noticed is more neurocognitive training with lights. Another newer trend that has meshed over from sports into physical therapy more recently is using blood flow restriction training.

Manske says he’s excited about blood flow restriction and is getting ready to start a study soon with a group of therapists.

“We're looking at using diagnostic ultrasound and trying to learn how experts are using diagnostic ultrasound,” Manske said. “Then we can replicate that for people, so that people who aren’t using it can potentially get better faster.”

One tool for blood flow restriction that is being used more is Suji, a portable BFR training and recovery device.

Performance Health's Impact as a Clinician

Manske prioritizes exercise equipment and Performance Health has great options for him as a clinician. He recommends the Total Gym for unloading patients during exercise.

“To me, just the [THERABAND resistance] bands alone are worth their weight in gold,” he says. “I mean, I've used them forever and they're a staple.”

Much of Manske’s work focuses on strengthening equipment that is easy for patients to use and travel with. In his case, utilizing THERABAND resistance bands is a no-brainer.

“When the patient is traveling, they can take the bands with them, so they can still do their workout,” Manske said. 


Advice for Anyone in Physical Therapy

Manske advises therapists and students to enjoy the process of learning, strive for self-improvement, and have a positive outlook when working in physical therapy. He believes being happy can create a positive environment for patients and coworkers.  

He also believes it's important to enjoy the process of getting better, whether at work or in school.

“I still feel like I'm going through a journey and getting better. I don't feel like I'm as good as I could be,” Manske said.

A lot of this is due to surrounding himself with other brilliant professionals in the field that push him to learn more.

He encourages people to embrace the journey of learning rather than viewing it as a grind. Even experienced therapists can benefit from striving for self-improvement by seeking out new information and techniques to better serve patients.

Get helpful tips on building your clinic, discover new exercises for your patients, and find the top products used by clinicians like you by exploring our other articles.


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About the Clinician: Robert Manske, PT, DPT, MEd, SCS, ATC, LATC, CSCS

Robert Manske Headshot


Robert Manske is an Associate Professor in the Doctoral Physical Therapy Program at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas. He graduated from WSU in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education, a Master of Physical Therapy degree in 1994, and earned a Master of Education degree in Physical Education in 2000. He received his DPT from Massachusetts General Institute of Health Professions in 2006.

Robert has been an APTA Board Certified Sports Physical Therapist since 2002. Rob is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and a certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) through the National Athletic Trainers Association.

He has helped author several publications, including “Post-Surgical Sports Orthopedic Rehabilitation: Knee and Shoulder”, the 3rd edition of “Clinical Orthopedic Rehabilitation” with Dr. Brent Brotzman, and “Issues in Sports Therapy” with David Magee, James Zachazewski, and William Quillen.