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Meet Dr. Leada Malek

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Leada Malek.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a licensed physical therapist and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. I have an advanced board-specialty in sports physical therapy and I’ve been in private practice for the last four years, but the pandemic impacted my hours. At its peak in the Bay Area, shelter-in-place orders shook outpatient physical therapy clinics and sports alike. Physical therapists were out of work and patients were abruptly abandoned along their recovery with minimal direction on what to do or where to go. I started offering free virtual consultations to frontline workers who were working so hard to keep us safe.

Telehealth was a more of an abstract idea than a utilized option at this point. Almost every tech company had told their employees to work-from-home indefinitely, and I knew the number of neck and back pain cases were about to skyrocket. I couldn’t help but think of all the people at home needing physical therapy. Three months later, I started a virtual business to help reach them. Since starting, I have become a PT consultant for tech companies, offer corporate wellness seminars, ergonomic assessments, and personal fitness training. I took to social media to share my treatment style and quickly grew a following and was interviewed for over ten publications and even invited on a global news platform to share my story. It’s been a very exciting road, and I never thought I’d be doing this!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Not exactly. I’ve had to do a lot of learning as I go. I’ve googled and taken some online courses, asked friends for help, and reached out to mentors for guidance. Learning the difference between marketing and branding, what “SEO” even stood for nonetheless understanding it, and even how to navigate social media has all been a learning experience! One thing I struggled with was actually showing my face online, but I’ve learned that people understanding the face behind the name and putting two together for your brand is important.

We’d love to hear more about your practice.
I am a board-specialized sports physical therapist, and I am the founder of Dr. Malek PT, a virtual physical therapy and fitness business with a mission to empower people and provide remote care so they can reach their health and fitness goals from the comfort of their own home. Historically, I have worked with professional dancers and competitive athletes, but I have expanded my care to help reach all patients during the pandemic. I currently consult for technology companies, offer corporate wellness seminars, offer fitness programming/training, and am an on-site physical therapist for a high-level basketball training facility. I am most proud of my quick expansion into the virtual world and building an online presence in such a short period of time. I am approaching about five months and it’s already grown to be more well-received than I had imagined.

I offer a very individualized approach to my patients. My televisits are anything but boring and my wellness sessions are interactive and educational. I always try to empower my patients by teaching them about their bodies and explaining what is going on with their injuries. This way, they really can be independent with their efforts and manage their pain/symptoms without my help in the long-term. While some physical therapists work on a strict schedule and offer what is “paid for” or what the clinic has time for, I make it a point to place the patient experience and communication and patient goals as a top priority.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Communication skills and clinical reasoning skills. Without the ability to communicate, rapport with the patient and physical therapist is hindered or blocked. Both parties need to be on the same page with something like physical therapy, or there will be a disconnect in the care. Without sound clinical reasoning skills, treatment is a shot in the dark for injuries and defaults to a “cookie-cutter” approach and patients don’t get better. It’s a fine balance between asking the right questions and communicating findings well and understanding how to progress patients through their injuries in order to reach the best outcome.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Credit: Serena Rae/Mission Hoops

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