Carnes giving fans high fives as she runs the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.
Carnes gives cheering observers high fives as she runs the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.

 Once Marissa Carnes started running, she was hooked. With help from Parkwest Therapy Center at Fort Sanders West, today she’s in training for two half marathons.   

“Training for the full marathon was hard to fit into my schedule, because I work seven days per week,” Carnes says, “but I just wanted to be able to say I did it.”   

 Carnes loves running so much that she decided to dive into triathlons, which are races featuring running, biking, and swimming. But while training for her very first triathlon last winter, Carnes ran into an unexpected problem.     

“I started having pain in my hip and buttock area,” she says. Carnes pushed through the pain and finished the race, anyway.  During training for her second triathlon, she was also plagued with knee pain. Carnes says she kept thinking the pain would go away on its own, but it never did.  “The pain in my right knee was pretty bad – it would swell up and get stiff, and the pain in my right buttock made it painful to sit,” Carnes says. “My whole right leg felt like it wanted to give out.”     

“I put [athletic] tape on my knee and buttocks so that I could run, and I also took ibuprofen and acetaminophen,” Carnes says, “but my leg wasn’t responding.”     

Carnes thought her spine was the source of her problems. But after eight visits with a spine physical therapist didn’t help, she asked her doctor to refer her for an MRI.     

Next came a visit with a sports orthopedic doctor, who finally unlocked the secret to her pain. “He diagnosed me with patellar tendinitis in the right knee, and ischial bursitis in my right buttock,” Carnes says.     

The orthopedic doctor put her knee in a brace, and recommended physical therapy with Phil Bevins at Parkwest Therapy Center. Making time in her schedule wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.     

“He was wonderful and helpful,” Carnes says of her physical therapist. “He also gave me some exercises to do at home, and he tried to accommodate my schedule.”           

Carnes’ therapy included ASTYM, a system of physical therapy that helps with soft tissue mobilization, and promotes healing. It’s one of the reasons Carnes is glad she went to Parkwest Therapy Center – not all physical therapists are certified in ASTYM therapy. The results can be seen on the race course, and in Carnes’ smile as she crosses the finish line.     

“I love that place,” Carnes says. “They are nice and very accommodating, everybody there was great…I’m back to my running life!     

Physical therapy services are available via a referral by a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Depending on your insurance company’s requirements, you may be able to self-refer without a physician order, saving you time and money. To learn more about services provided by Parkwest and other Covenant Therapy Centers, visit, or call 865-531-5710.