Sonnie grew up in Peru, IL, and graduated from Illinois Valley Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Science. She then received her Bachelor’s Degree from Illinois State University in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry. She continued her education, earning a Master’s Degree from the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences in Des Moines, Iowa (now known as Des Moines University), and in 2012 she completed her Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree as a result of her commitment to the physical therapy profession and to her patients. The focus of her doctoral degree was treating lymphedema and breast cancer patients.
Sonnie worked in a hospital setting for eleven years, working closely with area physicians and specializing in orthopedic rehabilitation, wound care, and aquatic therapy. She is credited with starting the first aquatic therapy program in the Illinois Valley. In 2005, she opened a private practice – United Physical Therapy, LLC – where she enjoys treating patients in a calm, relaxing setting with one-on-one treatment.
Sonnie is strongly committed to staying focused on new and current treatments in physical therapy. Every year, she continues to train and stay abreast of current techniques and procedures. Some of her continuing education has included: McKenzie Therapy for the neck and spine; wound care with training in sharp debridement; aquatic therapy; lymphedema therapy; and rehab techniques to decrease pain and increase function following breast cancer.
She has been a LANA (Lymphology Association of North America) Certified Lymphedema Therapist since 2008. This is the highest level of Lymphedema certification available in North America. She has completed a combined total of almost 190 hours of training in Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) and Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT), as well as two years of hands-on experience treating patients with swelling disorders. Sonnie was also required to pass an intensive qualifying exam sponsored by LANA. The number of LANA-certified therapists is growing in the state of Illinois, but at the time Sonnie was certified there were less than 75 LANA therapists in the state of Illinois.
Sonnie also. . .
is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, Private Practice Section
served on the commission to develop industry standards for Aquatic Therapy for the International Council for Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Industry Certification
served on the fundraising committee for the Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living (IVCIL)
helped to organize the first IVCIL Wheel-A-Thon to raise public awareness of disabilities and accessibility
is very active in her church and has served on various commissions
What’s next for Sonnie? It will likely involve evidence-based physical therapy and possibly even a trip to the Foeldi Clinic in Hinterzarten, Germany, for advanced lymphedema training.